Tensions build as lawmakers push White House on Fort Hood report
Published: December 16, 2009
The Senate Homeland Security Committee yesterday received a closed-door briefing from defense officials on the latest details of the Fort Hoot shooting, a meeting the committee leaders called "fruitful" but also one they said should have been held in public session.
Army officials said the personnel files of accused shooter Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan and sensitive details of their ongoing investigation mandated a private session with lawmakers. But Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., told reporters he's frustrated with the with the flow of information from the Pentagon and White House.
"We have received valuable information about DOD procedures as they apply to the Fort Hood incident, although we would much prefer it if DOD would provide witnesses in open hearings so the American people could learn in a public forum what led to the Fort Hood attack," he said in a statement. "We are clearly facing an increased threat of homegrown terrorism ... The U.S. government needs to counter this threat of self-radicalization and homegrown terrorism aggressively, and I am committed to developing concrete recommendations for doing so.
Republican lawmakers have been critical of the White House for not releasing any details of a report they received last month detailing failings in communication between the FBI, Army and other law enforcement agencies on Hasan; News reports suggest the FBI may not have shared information of Hasan's regular contact with a racial Islamic cleric in Yemen before the shooting.
In an editorial in the Washington Times earlier this month, ranking House intelligence committee member Pete Hoekstra blasted the failure to release the report "a lack of urgency" on behalf of the White House in investigating the issue. Ranking Senate Homeland Security Committee member Susan Collins, R-Maine, said the administration and Congress "owe that transparency and accountability to the members of our military and all Americans."
White House officials said they are still reviewing the report, but will share the information with lawmakers in the future.
[PHOTO: Associated Press]