Senator calls for release of FBI's Fort Hood report
Austin (Texas) American-Statesman
U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Austin, on Friday demanded the public release of an independent report into the FBI's actions before the Nov. 5, 2009, shootings at Fort Hood.
The report was scheduled to be delivered to FBI Director Robert Mueller on Friday, but it's not clear when a declassified version will be publicly released. The report, ordered by Mueller in December 2009, was prepared by former FBI Director William Webster and is expected to include 18 recommendations for the agency.
In a letter to Mueller, Cornyn called the report a "matter of tremendous public importance."
"The key findings and recommendations of this report must be made public, so we can glean any and all lessons from this incident," Cornyn wrote. "The American people and specifically the Fort Hood community in Texas have the right to know."
The FBI did not release the report Friday, according to Cornyn.
"I would hope that in the interest of transparency and accountability that (Mueller) would release it," Cornyn told the American-Statesman on Friday. "My hope would be that it is made public and let the chips fall where they may."
Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Hasan is accused of opening fire inside a busy medical processing center and killing or wounding 45, including numerous soldiers preparing to deploy to Afghanistan. According to witnesses, Hasan, who himself was scheduled to deploy shortly after the shootings, stood up and said, "Allahu akbar," Arabic for "God is great," an Islamic refrain sometimes uttered by terrorists in the Middle East before carrying out attacks.
Republican leaders have argued that political correctness contributed to law enforcement missing signs of Hasan's increasing radicalization in the months and years before the shooting.
Last year, U.S. Sens. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, released a report blasting federal officials for ignoring warning signals from Hasan, including emails between the psychiatrist and al Qaeda-linked cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. Investigators ultimately dismissed the communications as legitimate research.
Hasan faces the death penalty on 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder in a court-martial scheduled to begin next month at Fort Hood.
Hasan's appointed military attorneys have questioned the jury selection process in the case, in which 12 soldiers from Fort Hood and around the Army will ultimately be selected from about 150 finalists. On Thursday, lawyers on both sides argued about the wording of potential questions for jurors.
Hasan has been barred from the courtroom during pretrial hearings since he violated Army grooming regulations by growing a beard last month. Hasan, who said he grew the beard for religious reasons, has watched proceedings from a trailer outside the Fort Hood courthouse.
Distributed by MCT Information Services