ABC News’ Matthew Jaffe reports:
A new Senate report on the 2009 Fort Hood shooting blames the FBI and Department of Defense for failing to recognize or act on alleged shooter Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan’s extremist views.
The report, released today by Senate Homeland Security Committee chairman Joe Lieberman and ranking Republican Susan Collins, says the FBI and DOD could have prevented the shooting if they had identified Hasan’s radical Islamist views and disciplined or discharged him before the attack occurred.
“Our report’s painful conclusion is that the Fort Hood massacre could have and should have been prevented,” Lieberman said at a press conference today.
“The fact is that both the FBI and the Army were aware of Major Hasan,” Collins said. “This is not a case where a lone wolf was unknown to the FBI, unknown to the military officials, until he struck – and that is the tragedy of this case.”
The November 2009 shooting killed 13 people and wounded 32 others.
“Although neither DOD nor the FBI had specific information concerning the time, place, or nature of the attack, they collectively had sufficient information to have detected Hasan’s radicalization to violent Islamist extremism but failed both to understand and to act on it,” the senators said in the report. “Our investigation found specific and systemic failures in the government’s handling of the Hasan case and raises additional concerns about what may be broader systemic issues.”
“DOD possessed compelling evidence that Hasan embraced views so extreme that it should have disciplined him or discharged him from the military, but DOD failed to take action against him,” the report said.
At today’s press conference Lieberman noted that an instructor and a colleague had each referred to Hasan as “a ticking time bomb.”
“To me it’s infuriating that a member of our armed services who expressed such radical opinions to other members of our military was not discharged,” Lieberman said.
“The Fort Hood massacre resulted because of what I would call a tragedy of errors – just one after another - by organizations that normally perform effectively. But in this case – for a host of various reasons and frankly some things that are hard to explain – just totally failed to act in a way that as you look back at the evidence with the clarity of hindsight just shouts out, ‘Stop this guy before he kills somebody!’ And he was not stopped.”
Lieberman vowed that the report would be used as a “blueprint” for reforms “so the next human ticking time bomb will be identified early and defused before the next deadly detonation.”