Last Updated:December 19 @ 12:13 pm

Ft. Hood report shows political correctness contributed to shooting

By Lolita C. Baldor and Eileen Sullivan

WASHINGTON (AP) - The nearly 20 often-rambling emails that an Army psychiatrist sent to Yemeni terror leader Anwar al-Awlaki painted a confusing picture.

In some he was a believer intent on supporting terrorists and intrigued with the idea of U.S. soldiers killing comrades in the name of Islam. In others he was a man looking for help finding an appropriate wife.

In the end, they weren't enough for the FBI to identify Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan as a terrorist threat or, as it would turn out, as a man who now stands accused of the shooting spree at Fort Hood that killed 13 and wounded 23 others in November 2009.

The emails attracted the attention of FBI and anti-terrorism task force agents in December 2008, and eventually prompted them to dig up Hasan's personnel records and evaluation reports.

But gaps in the bureau's systems, poor training, antiquated technologies and an underlying fear that approaching Hasan would reveal the ongoing investigation into Awlaki prevented the FBI from pursuing the matter much further.

An independent review released Thursday by the FBI lays out a series of gaffes the bureau made as agents evaluated Hasan's correspondence with Awlaki, and ultimately decided the Army major was not a terror threat. The report, by former FBI Director William Webster, concludes that FBI personnel made mistakes in their handling of intelligence information, but that no one person was responsible.

"We do not find, and do not believe, that anyone is solely responsible for mistakes in handling the information," Webster wrote to FBI Director Robert Mueller in a letter with the report. "We do not believe it would be fair to hold these dedicated personnel, who work in a context of constant threats and limited resources, responsible for the tragedy that occurred months later at Fort Hood."

Much was already known about the series of oversights and missteps the government made leading to the terror attack at the Fort Hood Army post, but the report revealed new details.

The report describes the back-and-forth that went on between agents in Washington and task force members reviewing the emails in San Diego.

The FBI in San Diego had been investigating al-Awlaki, a former San Diego resident, for his possible connections to the 9/11 hijackers. When agents saw emails between Hasan and al-Awlaki, they asked the FBI's Washington office to talk to Hasan's bosses.

The Washington office said no.

The agents in Washington told Webster's investigators that an interview might have jeopardized the FBI's probe of Hasan by revealing that the bureau had access to his emails with al-Awalaki.

And, the report said, the FBI agents believed that an interview and contact with Hasan's chain-of-command might jeopardize Hasan's military career

The FBI ultimately concluded that Hasan's communications were in keeping with his research at the time, and as a result, no formal investigation of Hasan was opened. Hasan was writing a research paper about the effects of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Webster's report says that al-Awlaki deserved scrutiny by the FBI in Washington beyond a simple records check and said it was a mistake not to have interviewed Hasan.

The emails began in December 2008 and the last one was sent in June 2009. His first one laid out a question. What would Awlaki think of Muslims who have joined the military and "have even killed or tried to kill" other U.S. soldiers.

Other emails laid out a defense of Hamas, while a series of others pressed Awlaki to make it easier for people to donate money to his website.

In one he mentions a survey about the U.S. trying to undermine Islam, and in another he talks about a speaker he heard that defended suicide bombers.

Another note added a "PS": "I'm looking for a wife that is willing to strive with me to please Allah," Hasan wrote. "I will strongly consider a recommendation coming from you."

Awlaki responded only twice. Once to thank him for fundraising efforts, and a second time thanking him again for the offers to help, and adding: "Tell more about yourself. I will keep an eye for a sister."

Webster's report makes 18 recommendations for policy changes, improvements in training, information technology and other systems. Many of the recommendations have already been implemented by the FBI, or are in progress

The report also makes some broader observations about the difficulties in identifying lone wolf terrorists.

"Nidal Malik Hasan's transformation into a killer underscores the dilemma confronting the FBI," the report said. "He was a religious person. He had no known foreign travel. Other than his eighteen communications with Anwar al-Awlaki, he had no known contact and no known relationships with criminal elements, agents of foreign power, or potential terrorists."

Webster noted that the case also underscores the challenges presented by the new information age. Advancing technologies, he said, demand changes in the way the FBI acquires, stores and acts on intelligence.

Mueller called the Webster review thorough, and said the FBI constantly strives to improve its procedures.

The FBI and Defense Department have said that they've made several policy changes since the 2009 attack to help stave off similar attacks in the future. One major change was that if al-Awlaki comes up as part of a terror investigation, FBI headquarters would be alerted, Mark Giuliano, assistant director for the FBI's National Security Branch, said last year.

Al-Awlaki, implicated in other terror plots, was killed in a drone strike in Yemen last fall.

Hasan is currently being tried in a military court.

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Associated Press writer Pete Yost contributed to this report.

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15 Comments

  1. William WilsonComment by William Wilson
    July 20, 2012 @ 10:28 am

    Hassan did the shooting. “Political Correctness” did not contribute to the shooting, it only caused responsible people to ignore Hassan’s sick mind. When will Hassan br tried and EXECUTED??

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    • arwenusaComment by arwenusa
      July 20, 2012 @ 10:36 am

      Just a guess, but after Obama is gone? And Hillary. And all the other Americans in authority who prefer Muslims to non-Muslims?

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    • bna42Comment by bna42
      July 20, 2012 @ 10:42 am

      As CIC, would Obama be allowed to grant this Muslim a pardon?

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    • lwessonComment by lwesson
      July 20, 2012 @ 11:33 am

      And we import more Muslims every year. 100,000? This is suicide in motion.

      Had my Wife not been transferred from World Trade Center 2, we never would have met. Seeing this horrid Muslim delight, still breathing…, hearing that this attack by Awlaki was JUST work related, betrays much about “our” officials.

      Yes, national suicide.

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    • downdraftComment by downdraft
      July 21, 2012 @ 2:31 pm

      We wouldn’t know the truth if it was set right before our eyes…

      I fear Americans brainwashed to deny the truth…

      Americans look to their elected to tell the truth…then when the elected do tell us the truth, we allow political failures, those who failed at being a leader…such as Senator “wishy-washy McCain”…to rise up against it…

      Fact: America is dangerously being over run by Muslims who mean us harm!

      Fact: Senator McCain begins to cry and sob, ignoring this fact, and tells us its disgraceful to be told the truth…

      Fact: Senator McCain id a weak and dagerous man to be expected to recognize the truth, much less facts that will do us harm…he is over the hill!

      CASE and FACT:
      Minnesota Congress Woman Michele Bachmann, Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert, Arizona Congressman Trent Franks, and Florida’s Congressman Tom Rooney, and Georgia’s Lynn Westmoreland, DUTIFULLY alerted in writing inspector generals in the State Department, Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense, Obama’s DOJ (Holder), , and the Office of National Intelligence….

      “….investigative findings that The Muslim Brotherhood was infiltrating the US Government…including a top Muslim Brotherhood supporter working directly for Hillary Clinton……”

      Congressman Rooney, a respected member of the House Armed Services and Intelligence Committee, and among those who alerted these major government agencies…Stood his ground…in spite of pathetic outcries of an equally weak and pathetic Senator McCain…

      This is the real thing America…we hired these brave persons to Congress to do what they are supposed to…but simpletons like McCain, being afraid of his own shadow, has failed America again…he is much like Jimmy Carter in htis way…

      We must call upon GOP Boehmer to begin to act like a leader of the GOP….but it seems he is afraid of Obama…and THe Muslim Brotherhood…

      America…call your Congressman and Senators…DEMAND THE SUPPORT and backing of this extremely troublesome accusation..”

      Either we get to the bottom of this, allow these brave persons to do their jobs…or just hand our America over to the Obama Muslim Brotherhood, including to Hillary…and go back to being WIMPS!

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  2. BillzillaComment by Billzilla
    July 20, 2012 @ 12:46 pm

    Political correctness equals suicide by poisoning the infected persons mind. what insanity! Political correctness in a large measure is what allowed a person such as Barry Barack to be elected President of the United States. Political correctness prevented any check of his background, or associates so as to avoid being called a racist. Political correctness caused commonsense to fly out of the window. Political correctness has caused us to be stuck in the mess that we’re in, without competent leadership to get us out!

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    • canada3dayerComment by canada3dayer
      July 20, 2012 @ 10:57 pm

      “political correctness” is destroying this country. has been for a long long time. didn’t that **** start with Carter?

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  3. cxComment by genesal
    July 20, 2012 @ 12:54 pm

    I repeat, Political Correctness is a tool of Satan, period.

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  4. Charles MartelComment by Charles Martel
    July 20, 2012 @ 4:36 pm

    If Major Hassan is getting a salary and shows up in court (or any other official business) with a beard why isn’t he getting Article 15′s for being out of uniform?

    I charge his “supervisor” with dereliction of duty!

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    • Bayushi ZeroComment by Bayushi Zero
      July 21, 2012 @ 5:30 pm

      They’re not going to give him a razor, even a safety razor.

      For obvious reasons.

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  5. RME KRNLComment by RME KRNL
    July 20, 2012 @ 6:24 pm

    Army officials who were aware of Hasan’s radicalism let PC prevent them from intervening and reining him in, Obama and his DHS’s Janet Incompolitano let PC prevent them from calling the shooting what it clearly was, a terrorist attack, and PC has prevented the liberal meeed-ya from raising hell about it and all that’s followed in the aftermath.

    Lesson learned — if you’re going to be a mass murderer in America today, it’s best if you’re also an SOA, Soldier of Allah, in other words, a Muslim, as Hasan was and is.

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  6. appraisherComment by appraisher
    July 20, 2012 @ 8:34 pm

    So, we’ve finally been allowed to know the criteria that the US military, Homeland Security and the FBI uses to determine who is and who isn’t a threat to our security. We should ignore any kind of anti American rhetoric and the very distinct possibility that he’s planning on killing people, otherwise “…it might jeopardize his military career”, oh, and that he’s a muslim. If they can ignore these emails sent to Awlaki who was already a suspected terrorist, even our military can’t protect themselves. PC has allowed them to ignore the ’93 Trade Center attacks, muslims attending flight schools and finally the 9/11 attacks. It appears that this PC doesn’t extend to conservatives and Tea Partiers, who this government sees as the only real threat. If this assanine political correctness doesn’t stop, it will get us all killed or all wearing burkas, which ever is worse.

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  7. cynicalobserverComment by cynicalobserver
    July 20, 2012 @ 10:38 pm

    I really like lwesson’s comment

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  8. thecitizenComment by thecitizen
    July 21, 2012 @ 2:53 pm

    Terrorist attack …?

    What? Didn’t you hear? BO had it all declared as – workplace violence!

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    • RME KRNLComment by RME KRNL
      July 21, 2012 @ 5:00 pm

      Oh, I forgot, Janet Incompolitano calls terrorist attacks “man-made disasters” and Obama calls them “overseas operations,” so anything which doesn’t fit those twisted “definitions” doesn’t qualify as terrorists attacks, i guess.

      Well, unless they’re domestic and done by a conservative, that is.

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