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article imageFt. Hood massacre probe: FBI, Army could have prevented it

By Adeline Yuboco     Feb 4, 2011 in World
Washington - A report published by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs concluded that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Defense (DOD) could have prevented the Fort Hood massacre back in 2009.
Based on the findings in the report, officials from both government agencies possessed information that Fort Hood shooter and Army psychiatrist Major Nidal Hasan was becoming increasingly radical prior to the 2009 shooting. However, systematic and cultural problems had caused officials not to recognize the signs.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports:
It also concludes that the FBI failed to share information with the Army - notably, e-mails that Hasan exchanged with a "suspected terrorist," a likely reference to Anwar al-Awlaki, an Islamic cleric well known for his extremist views. The report says the agency might have dismissed such clues to avoid causing "a bureaucratic confrontation."
The Pentagon also "possessed compelling evidence" of the increasing radical behavior exhibited by Hasan, which could have warranted disciplinary action or discharge from the military, CNN News reports.
Such compelling evidence should have led not only to Hasan's discharge from the military, but also a subject of counter-terrorism investigations.
"The Fort Hood massacre should have been prevented," Senator Joe Lieberman—who conducted the investigation with Senator Susan Collins—told reporters during a news conference. "[The] people in the Department of Defense and FBI had ample evidence of alleged killer Nidal Hasan's growing sympathies [resembling that of an] Islam extremist in the years before the attack. [As a result], 13 people died needlessly."
The US Army spokesman Col. Tom Collins said that they "appreciate the committee's efforts to examine [the] circumstances surrounding the Fort Hood shooting incident." He added that officials are already implementing measures in order to prevent another incident such as this from happening again.
A spokesman from the Pentagon released a statement that the agency is now putting a high priority on implementing recommendations which will strengthen the different policies, programs, and procedures that are seen to contribute to the overall safety and health of the country's military forces.
Fort Hood alleged shooter Major Nidal Hasan
Fort Hood alleged shooter Major Nidal Hasan
By Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, via Wikimedia Commons
The FBI also released a statement noting that an internal review was done after the attack and identified several of the points outlined in the said report. The agency also stated that it has implemented changes in their systems and procedures to address this.
41-year-old Hasan, a US-born Muslim with Palestinian ancestry, strode into the Soldier Readiness Center located at Fort Hood, Texas on November 5, 2009. Within moments, Hasan opened fired inside the center, killing 13 employees of the Department of Defense and leaving 32 others injured, making this the worst terrorist attack since 9/11. Reports say that before he opened fired, Hasan yelled "Allahu Akbar" (Arabic for "God is great)."
Hasan himself was shot following an altercation outside the center, leaving him paralyzed from the chest down.
Military officials are expected to make their recommendation next month as to whether or not Hasan will be tried in military court and will be facing the death penalty.
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