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Fort Hood Review: Military Is Unable To Stop Internal Threats

Fort Hood Review: Military Is Unable To Stop Internal Threats

Soldiers fold a flag at Fort Hood. (AP Photo)

Houston Chronicle via YellowBrix

January 16, 2010

WASHINGTON — A Pentagon review of the Nov. 5 shooting rampage at Fort Hood has concluded that the military remains unprepared to stop internal security threats at its U.S. installations, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Friday.

Gates said the independent review found that the Pentagon, like other federal departments and agencies, remains rooted in Cold War thinking designed to stop state-sponsored threats, not terrorism, and that the Fort Hood gunman’s supervisors failed to act on disturbing behavioral signs before the tragedy occurred.

“We have not done enough to adapt to the evolving domestic internal security threat to American troops and military facilities that has emerged over the past decade,” Gates said at a Pentagon news conference.

The review was ordered by Gates and conducted by retired Adm. Vern Clark, former chief of naval operations, and former Army Secretary Togo West.

The Army is conducting a separate criminal investigation. Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, 39, is charged with premeditated murder in the shooting that killed 13 people and injured 43.

Hasan was paralyzed from the chest down after a shoot-out with police. He is being treated at Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio.

Gates said he could not speak about the criminal investigation, but he did confirm that the review includes personnel accountability recommendations involving those who supervised Hasan.

The Associated Press, quoting unnamed sources, is reporting that as many as eight officers could be disciplined for failing to report incidents and behavior that could have curbed Hasan’s career as an Army psychiatrist.

“My view is there are a number of actions we must take soon to fix this problem, and I am setting a goal of accomplishing this by March,” Gates said.

Hasan’s lawyer, John Galligan, said he is still waiting for the Army to turn over information and laboratory reports to help prepare for an upcoming review to determine if he is mentally competent to stand trial. Pentagon officials briefed lawmakers on the review ahead of a House Armed Service Committee hearing next week.

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, said the review highlights the many warning signs regarding Hasan’s “extremist views that were missed over and over again, up and down the chain of command.”

The strongest criticism targeted the Pentagon’s ability to detect threats from inside the military services. Gates said it “reveals shortcomings in the way the Department is prepared to defend against threats posed by external influences operating on members of our military community.”

Colleagues and supervisors at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington had questioned Hasan’s performance and his behavior as a psychiatrist before he was sent to Fort Hood in July.

An FBI terrorism task force discovered e-mails that Hasan had exchanged with a radical Yemeni cleric, but the contact raised no red flags because it was considered consistent with Hasan’s research. FBI Director Robert Mueller has ordered a review about how the agency handled the information.

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