Army says nine officers will be reprimanded for failing to spot signs of radicalism in Fort Hood shooter

The Mail reports:

Nine Army officers are being reprimanded for failing to spot signs of radicalism in the gunman who went on a shooting rampage at Fort Hood.

Major Nidal Malik Hasan allegedly killed 13 and injured 29 in the massacre at the Texas military base on November 5, 2009, and had a track record of mental instability as he moved along his medical career.

Saying that although no single event directly led to the tragedy, Army Secretary John McHugh found that certain officers failed to meet expected standards, an Army statement said yesterday.

The officers—all lieutenant or above—will receive punishments ranging from an oral reprimand to the far more serious written letter of censure that is considered a career-ender.

A Pentagon review last year found that 40-year-old Hasan’s supervisors at Walter Reed Army Medical Centre where he worked expressed serious concerns about his questionable behaviour and poor judgement but failed to heed their own warnings.

It said the Army psychiatrist’s supervisors continued to give him positive performance evaluations that kept him moving up through the ranks despite worries about his strident views on Islam and worries about his competence.

In one episode, Hasan reportedly gave a class presentation questioning whether the U.S.-led war on terror was actually a war on Islam.

And fellow students said he suggested that Shariah, or Islamic law, trumped the Constitution, and that he also attempted to justify suicide bombings.

The review, however, found that no one in Hasan’s chain of command blocked his ability to hold a secret security clearance or stop his continued assignments, including his move to Fort Hood.

Earlier this year a Senate review came to similar conclusions, saying the Defense Department and the FBI had sufficient information to detect that Hasan had been radicalised to violent extremism, but they failed to act on it.

Commenting late last night, Republican Senator Susan Collins said the Defence Department ‘failed to act on Hasan’s obvious radicalism by either disciplining him or discharging him—actions that could have been taken under existing personnel and extremism policies.

Influence: Imam Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S.-born Yemeni cleric and recruiter for Al Qaeda, supposedly talked to Hasan before the alleged attack

Influence: Imam Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S.-born Yemeni cleric and recruiter for Al Qaeda, supposedly talked to Hasan before the alleged attack

‘Hasan’s increasing extremism was well known to his supervisors and colleagues at Walter Reed as was his poor performance.’

Independent Senator Joe Lieberman added that the discipline meted out by McHugh will ‘send a clear message to everyone that the Army will not tolerate such negligence and passivity in reaction to clear signs that a soldier is radicalising to Islamic extremism.’

Lieberman and Collins are chairman and ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which issued the Senate review.

A joint terrorism task force overseen by the FBI learned late in 2009 of Hasan’s repeated contact with U.S.-born radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who encouraged Muslims to kill U.S. troops in Iraq.

The FBI has said the task force did not refer early information about Hasan to superiors because it concluded he wasn’t linked to terrorism.

The Army did not release the names of the officers or the types of reprimands they all are receiving, but it is unlikely any are generals.

The officers can appeal the punishments, and it may be several weeks before the actions are final.

McHugh also has ordered a review of the Army’s evaluation system to see whether it can be improved so there would be more accurate personnel reviews.

He also directed the Army surgeon general to review policies and procedures for training, counselling and evaluating medical officers.

Hasan was charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted murder.

If he is found guilty and court-marshalled, he could face the death penalty.

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Howard Sutherland writes:

Interesting post. I suppose it is good to see that the Army is acknowledging some problems in jihadist Hasan’s being passed through the Army system—even to the point of being promoted to Major after receiving negative evaluations on fitness reports, something that would be a sure career-ender for Mr. White American Army Officer.

This, however, is a hunt for convenient scapegoats. The officers who will be disciplined may have been negligent in passing Hasan through the system, but why were they? Not, for the most part, because they are absolutely clueless. The kind of liberal who makes himself utterly clueless about such things as jihadist threats doesn’t generally sign up for the armed forces in the first place. These officers acted as they did because of a certain “command climate,” to use a phrase one often hears in the military (most recently applied, negatively, to the hapless destroyer skipper who just got relieved because some of his sailors and sailorettes were having carnal knowledge of each other while on liberty in Mediterranean ports; itself a cautionary tale of our deeply diseased military). They passed Hasan along because it wasn’t worth their careers to them to raise flags about hostile Moslems, as Moslems have joined “visible minorities,” women and now homosexuals as a preferred class.

Now, unfortunately, most generals today are political toadies and they set the command climate they believe their political masters want. What their civilian commanders-in-chief want, whether the name is Bush (either one), Clinton, or Obama, is cringing deference to Moslems, and the generals make sure that is just what they get. I see this punishment of more junior officers, people unable to change the situation, as a cover-up of the true command failures among the people who wear stars and, even more so, among their civilian bosses. The point is to convince us suckers that the problem is solved while carrying on exactly as before. If we see a King Commission seriously examining Moslem fifth-columnists in our armed forces, I’ll believe I might eventually be proved wrong. I’m not holding my breath …

Posted by Lawrence Auster at March 11, 2011 10:41 AM | Send

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