Posts Tagged ‘Nidal Malik Hasan’

h1

Detecting Military Radicalism in the Wake of Fort Hood

November 23, 2009

Detecting Military Radicalism in the Wake of Fort Hood

IPT News
November 19, 2009

http://www.investigativeproject.org/1528/detecting-military-radicalism-in-the-wake-of-fort

The first congressional hearing in the aftermath of the Fort Hood massacre took place Thursday morning, with the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing from security experts, including a retired general and a former top White House advisor.

Lieberman wanted to hear from FBI officials about missed signals that Nidal Malik Hasan exhibited radical viewpoints and created concern among his colleagues. But the administration didn’t allow any current government witnesses, in deference to the ongoing criminal investigation.

According to the Washington Post, Lieberman said conversations with Attorney General Eric Holder and Defense Secretary Robert Gates left him optimistic that the committee would gain access to some of the information it is seeking soon.

Thursday, the committee heard testimony on how to better identify potential radicals in the armed forces and how to empower people to report their concerns up the chain of command, even when the concerns involved an officer like Hasan. Among the witnesses were retired Gen. John Keane, a former Army vice chief of staff; Frances Fragos Townsend, President George W. Bush’s homeland security adviser, and terrorism expert Brian Michael Jenkins of the RAND Corp.

The New York Times reported that the Pentagon was initiating a review of the Hasan case that would have a similar focus. The Investigative Project on Terrorism covered the hearing and prepared a video summary below.

Transcript

SEN. LIEBERMAN: (Sounds gavel.) The hearing will come to order. This morning, our committee begins an investigation as serious and consequential as any it has ever undertaken. An American soldier, Nidal Hasan, has been charged with killing 12 of his fellow soldiers and one civilian on an American military base in Texas in what I believe, based on available evidence, was a terrorist attack.

The purpose of this committee’s investigation is to determine whether that attack could have been prevented, whether the federal agencies and employees involved missed signals or failed to connect dots in a way that enabled Nidal Hasan to carry out his deadly attack.

If we find such errors or negligence, we will make recommendations to guarantee as best we can that they never occur again. That’s our purpose here.

SEN. LIEBERMAN: Our staffs will be meeting with representatives of the Department of Justice and Defense very soon to try to work out ground rules for both investigations without interfering with each other.

But I can say that I’m encouraged and appreciative that Senator Collins and I and our staff — our top staff — have received one classified briefing on the Hasan case and will soon receive another and have been given access to some very relevant classified documents relating to this matter. So we’re off to a good cooperative start.

—-

GEN. KEANE: I suspect strongly that after we conduct these investigations, we will find that our policies will need revision again to account for the specific behavior and attitudes as expressed by radical Islamists or Jihadist extremists. It should not be an active of moral courage for a soldier to identify a fellow soldier who is displaying extremist behavior. It should be an obligation. And as such, the commanders needs specific guidelines as to what Jihadist extremists behavior is and re-emphasize how to use the many tools and options they have at their disposal to curb the behavior, to rehabilitate soldiers if possible, or to take legal or separation action.

Because Jihadist extremists are potentially linked to terrorist organizations that directly threaten the security of the United States, it is essential that our government agencies are sharing information about such individuals.

GEN. KEANE: Radical Islam and Jihadist extremism is the most transformational issue I have dealt with in my military service and continues to be so today. In my judgment, it is the most significant threat to the security of the American people that I have faced in my lifetime. We are a society that espouses tolerance and values diversity and our military reflects those values. But at the same time, we must know what a threat looks like and we must know what to do about it.

MS. TOWNSEND: To the extent that there would have been concern of infringing on Major Hasan’s either right to free speech or his freedom to practice his religion, there were other factors to which you could point beyond that, having nothing to do with his religion or his speech, that could have caused concern.

The repeated — while it’s not public, the content of those communications, certainly those communications, and now what we’re hearing from his other colleagues up at Walter Reed, any combination of those factors, as long as it was not based solely on his exercise of his constitutional freedom, could have formed the basis of further inquiry and investigation by the FBI.

SEN. COLLINS: So if we’re being told that one reason this was not aggressively pursued was concerns that it would violate the FISA restrictions or the attorney general’s guidelines, you would disagree with that decision, based on what you know?

MS. TOWNSEND: Based on what I know now, yes, I would disagree with that. And frankly, this is, Senator, why I mentioned my concern about political correctness. I think we have to ensure that our investigators feel sufficiently backed up, if you will, to follow the facts wherever they lead them. And if the facts lead them to an investigation of a senior member of the uniformed military, who happens to be a Muslim doctor, then that’s where they lead them. But they have to feel confident that they can pursue the facts wherever they take them, against whoever the target may be.
—-

MR. JENKINS: Now, at a glance, Major Hasan’s rampage at Fort Hood looks a lot like what used to be called “going postal,” a deepening sense of person grievance culminating in a homicidal rampage directed against co-workers, in this case, fellow soldiers. For Hasan, “going jihad” reflects the channeling of obvious personality problems into a deadly fanaticism.

We must wait, really, for a full inquiry to thoroughly understand Hasan’s motives, his preparations, his objectives. But on the basis of what has been reported in the news media, we clearly have a troubled man who engaged himself with extremist ideologies via the Internet that resonated with and reinforced his own anger leading him, at some point, to a decision to kill.

GEN. KEANE: [So what we are dealing with here now, in my view, dealing with jihadist extremist, potentially, certainly the preliminary evidence would suggest that,] [SEN. LIEBERMAN: Right…] — that those kind of guidelines, in terms of defining that and how to deal with that, as a specific case, and that behavior and that attitude and that rhetoric, are not in the hands of our commanders.

SEN. LIEBERMAN: Yeah. Okay, that’s a real — if our investigation finds that that’s true, and I suspect it is, that’s a real omission and an area for correction, particularly in light of the record that other witnesses have testified to of the way in which jihadists, or people who are actually being self-radicalized or radicalized over the Internet, are being exhorted to attack the American military on bases, not just abroad but here at home.

My time is up. Thank you, General.

Senator Collins.

Related Topics: Homegrown Terror

h1

Introspection, Not Rationalization, Needed in Wake of Fort Hood Slaughter

November 6, 2009

Introspection, Not Rationalization, Needed in Wake of Fort Hood Slaughter

IPT News
November 6, 2009

http://www.investigativeproject.org/1500/introspection-not-rationalization-needed-in-wake

A picture of Nidal Malik Hasan is emerging from the slaughter he carried out Thursday during a ceremony at a Fort Hood readiness center, leaving 13 people dead and another 30 wounded.

Born in Virginia, sent to medical school by the U.S. Army, the psychiatrist was chastised for proselytizing to his patients about Islam. Asked his nationality, he didn’t identify himself as an American but as a Palestinian. He appeared pleased by the shooting death of a Little Rock Army recruiter in June and reportedly was heard saying “maybe people should strap bombs on themselves and go to Times Square.”

In the fateful moment before he opened fire on his unarmed victims, he shouted “Allahu Akhbar.”

With each new disclosure, some media outlets and organized Islamist groups increasingly are trying to deflect attention away from Hasan’s religious motivation. In a statement condemning the attack, the Muslim American Society’s Freedom Foundation referenced past shootings by soldiers on their bases and cited the suicide rate at Fort Hood.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) issued a statement once the killer’s name was known condemning the attack and saying “No religious or political ideology could ever justify or excuse such wanton and indiscriminate violence.”

The condemnations are welcome and appropriate if not the only thing that could be done in response to the tragedy. As we have noted previously, such unequivocal statements are much harder to come by when arrests are made before the killings can be carried out or when the killers share the Islamists’ ideology.

Arab-American Anti Discrimination Committee President Mary Rose Oakar issued a statement calling the Hasan attack “absolutely deplorable.” But she also emphasized that the violence “has nothing to do with any religion, race, ethnicity, or national origin.”

Friday morning, CAIR national spokesman Ibrahim Hooper told radio interviewer John Hockenberry that Hasan’s motivation remains unknown:

“He could have just snapped from some kind of stress. The thing is when these things happen and the guy’s name is John Smith nobody says well what about his religious beliefs? But when it is a Muslim sounding name that automatically comes into it.”

Contrast that with blogger Shahed Amanullah’s willingness to address the matter with courage and honesty lacking among the American Muslim community’s self-anointed national spokesmen:

“Hasan, an Army psychiatrist, was reportedly troubled by his impending deployment to Iraq. Mental instability and depression has resulted in violence within the armed forces before. But unless Hasan left an explicit message to that effect, a religiously-inspired political act of violence is, much as we’d be unwilling to admit it, entirely plausible. With that in mind, Muslims will have to ask themselves some difficult questions as to why there are still those among us who continue to find justification for acts such as this in their faith.”

Hasan’s murderous rampage is just the latest in a string of attempts to murder American soldiers at home. It’s a point Daniel Pipes made in 2003 after Hasan Akbar, a sergeant in the 101st Airborne Division, rolled a grenade into a tent holding his fellow soldiers on the eve of the invasion of Iraq. Akbar was found legally sane, convicted and sentenced to death in 2005.

In June, Abdulhakim Muhammad killed an Army recruiter in Little Rock and wounded a second recruiter. He told investigators he would have killed more people if he had seen them.

Fortunately, other plots were broken up by law enforcement before anyone got hurt. But in those cases, the Islamist organizations have cast the FBI as engaging in a sinister effort to entrap people otherwise uninterested in violence or incapable of carrying it out.

Among the examples:

Fort Dix

On May 7, 2007, six individuals were arrested for plotting an attack on the Fort Dix military base in New Jersey. The goal of the attack, according to court documents, was to “kill as many soldiers as possible.” Following a jury trial, the plotters were found guilty on charges of conspiracy to harm U.S. military personnel on December 22, 2008. CAIR initially was supportive following the arrests saying, “we applaud the FBI for its efforts and repeat the American Muslim community’s condemnation and repudiation of all those who would plan or carry out acts of terror while falsely claiming their actions have religious justification.”

Later, CAIR also requested that media outlets and public officials refrain from linking this case to the faith of Islam. The council asked mosques and Islamic institutions in New Jersey and nationwide to report any incidents of anti-Muslim backlash.

Bronx Terror Plot

On May 20, 2009, James Cromitie and three others were arrested and indicted on charges arising from a plot to detonate explosives near a synagogue in the Bronx and to shoot down military planes at the New York Air National Guard Base at Stewart Airport in Newburgh, NY. Although they initially condemned the plotters and congratulated the FBI on its efforts, MPAC came to question the motives and methods of the FBI saying that “none of these cases that we’re talking about now involved in al Qaida cells. These were individuals who were either petty criminals or gullible people who were guilty of stupidity. They were not imminent threats to our country, as the FBI has stated.”

North Carolina Jihad

On July 27, 2009, Daniel Patrick Boyd and six others were indicted in North Carolina for planning to “advance violent Jihad including supporting and participating in terrorist activities abroad and committing acts of murder, kidnapping, or maiming persons abroad,” after three years of being under surveillance by the FBI. Among the allegations was that Boyd and his co-conspirators intended to attack the Quantico Marine base. Because a member of Boyd’s group cooperated with law enforcement, MPAC insinuated the FBI improperly investigated the case: “the arrests come at a time when questions have been raised about the use of FBI informants in mosques and tense relations between law enforcement and local communities.”

The same pattern has been applied in the past two weeks, since FBI agents shot and killed a Detroit imam who fired first. Luqman Abdullah had a long history of advocating an offensive jihad and using his mosque for training in martial arts and with weapons. Yet CAIR and other Islamist groups have argued his religious justifications should not be a part of the case and allege the FBI reacted with excessive force after Abdullah fired his weapon.

There’s obviously a lot more to Hasan’s attack still to be learned. He reportedly dreaded his pending deployment to Iraq and may have snapped. But to dismiss his statements about people “strap[ping] bombs on themselves” or that Muslims should rise up and fight the aggressors is irresponsible and counter productive.

This is no isolated incident and the sooner national groups face that fact, the sooner they might heed Amanullah’s challenge to engage in a genuine search for the causes and confront those who help foster such violent ideology.