Obama stonewalling Congress on Hasan?
posted at 8:48 am on November 17, 2009 by Ed Morrissey
Congress wants to determine what failures allowed Army Major Nidal Hasan to kill 14 people and wound dozens of others in a premeditated shooting spree at Fort Hood. The Obama administration has refused to cooperate into a probe to find those failures. Ben Pershing at the Washington Post wrote last night that the White House refuses to provide witnesses to Congress for hearings into the counterterrorism failure:
The first public congressional hearing on the Fort Hood attack will not include testimony from any current federal law enforcement, military or intelligence officials because the Obama administration “declined to provide any” such witnesses, according to a Senate committee source.
The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee has released the witness list for its hearing “The Fort Hood Attack: A Preliminary Assessment,” scheduled for Thursday at 10 a.m. ET. The list includes four experts on terrorism and intelligence issues: retired Gen. Jack Keane, the former U.S. Army vice chief of staff; Brian Jenkins, a senior advisor at the Rand Corp.; Mitchell Silber, the director of analysis for the New York City Police Department’s Intelligence Division; and Juan Zarate, a senior advisor for the Transnational Threats Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
But the list does not include anyone actively involved in investigating the Fort Hood attack, or anyone who might have been responsible for decisions made by various government agencies before the attack about whether to investigate the shooting suspect, Nidal Hasan. The Senate committee source said HSGAC Chairman Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) had hoped to have witnesses from the FBI and the U.S. Army, but was rebuffed in his requests.
Barack Obama repeatedly promised to make his administration the most open and transparent in history. Accountability to Congress goes far beyond “hope and change” or any other campaign sloganeering. It’s required by the Constitution, and Congress has the right to demand answers from the FBI and the Army as part of their oversight of both.
Furthermore, Congress has no interest in “solving” the murder case. The military has the shooter. Congress has the duty to see why Hasan wasn’t identified as a risk before he picked up a gun and started killing soldiers. Why didn’t critical information get shared on Hasan, especially his correspondence with Anwar al-Aulaqi, a man suspected of an operational role in the 9/11 attacks by the Congressional Commission that studied them, as well as a known al-Qaeda recruiter and sympathizer? Are there any other soldiers communicating with Hasan or other AQ figures that the FBI and the Joint Terrorism Task Force has chalked up to “research”?
If nothing else, Congress could have asked the Army why they intended to deploy a psychiatrist who repeatedly attempted to violate patient confidentiality in order to press war-crimes charges against the soldiers he was treating:
Major Nidal Malik Hasan’s military superiors repeatedly ignored or rebuffed his efforts to open criminal prosecutions of soldiers he claimed had confessed to “war crimes” during psychiatric counseling, according to investigative reports circulated among federal law enforcement officials. …
Investigators believe Hasan’s frustration over the failure of the Army to pursue what he regarded as criminal acts by U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan may have helped to trigger the shootings.
“The Army may not want to admit it, and you may not hear much about it, but it was very big for him,” said one of the federal investigators on the task force collecting evidence of the crime.
His last effort to get the attention of military investigators came on Nov. 2, three days before his alleged shooting spree, according to the reports.
Hasan made a number of attempts to inform on his patients to prosecutors, in at least one case signing e-mails “Praise be to Allah.” And no one in the Army thought this was a little weird? Does the Army routinely send combat soldiers to psychiatrists who violate their trust and the doctor-patient privilege? And even knowing all of this, the Army was about to send Hasan to a combat zone to treat even more combat soldiers.
That’s the kind of thing Congress needs to know, and the Army needs to explain. Unfortunately, Obama wants to stall those questions and keep from providing the answers.