The White House’s attempt to stall Congress on an investigation into the failure to stop Army Major Nidal Hasan from conducting a terrorist attack at Fort Hood appears to have produced the kind of bipartisanship Barack Obama claims to treasure. Unfortunately for Obama, the Senate has united in an effort to tell the President to cooperate or face subpoenas. Along with Republicans, Joe Lieberman and Partrick Leahy said they will proceed with investigations and expect the White House to produce the data and witnesses they need:
A bipartisan group of senators began a concerted push Wednesday to get more cooperation from the Obama administration in its reviews of the Fort Hood shootings, which left 13 dead and a raft of questions about information-sharing among intelligence agencies.
In addition to the public hearings that Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) is set to begin Thursday, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) demanded Wednesday that his panel receive the results of a White House review of agency investigations of suspect Nidal M. Hasan’s communications with a radical Muslim cleric who has ties to al-Qaeda. …
Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), a senior member of the Judiciary Committee, was unmollified, telling the attorney general: “The FBI did not pursue an investigation of [Hasan] because they concluded that the e-mails were consistent with his research at Walter Reed, and no contact was made with the Department of Defense. I understand that a thorough investigation will take time to complete, but we need to protect our troops now.”
And that’s the point. Congress has no need to interrogate witnesses to the actual shooting, which is the focus of the Pentagon and the DoJ at the moment. They do need to find out how a man in repeated contact with the enemy could have been ignored for so long, especially since he was dangerously incompetent at his job.
Susan Collins had already been outspoken about the Obama administration’s attempt to stonewall on Hasan:
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) is criticizing the Obama administration’s briefings on the Ft. Hood massacre, saying that information provided by the Defense Department and the FBI in a closed door meeting Tuesday “raised many troubling questions.”
The briefing, coordinated by the National Security Committee, for House and Senate leaders was scheduled after the administration bowed out of a closed hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee that was supposed to happen on Monday.
Collins, the ranking Republican on the Senate Homeland Security Committee, said she’s calling on the administration to work with the committee to cooperate with its investigation of the Nov. 5 shooting deaths at Ft. Hood. Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan has been charged with the crime, which Collins called “certainly” an example of home-grown terrorism.
The investigation into the shootings themselves and discovering why no one wanted to connect the dots on Hasan are both high priorities. We can do both at the same time, and Congress is right to demand cooperation from Obama and the executive branch on the question of homeland security and proper threat analysis. Thus far, we have had only one failure, but fourteen people are dead from it and dozens wounded. We need to prevent another failure before more people get killed. That’s at least as important as pursuing the investigation into the Fort Hood massacre itself.