Obama to Congress: Don’t Turn Fort Hood Shooting Into ‘Political Theater’

November 14, 2009

(ChattahBox)—As the events leading up to the Fort Hood shooting are investigated, President Obama warned lawmakers not to turn the tragedy into “political theatre,” before all of the facts are known. President Obama promised a full investigation into the Fort Hood shooting during his weekly address, to uncover any institutional and individual failures in missing warning signs that the alleged shooter Major Nidal Malik Hasan was a danger to his fellow soldiers. Hasan is charged with the premeditated shooting deaths of 13 service men and women at a Fort Hood processing center.

The President said, he “will insist that the full story be told,” and pledges that those who failed “…to take appropriate action before the shootings” would be held accountable.

During his weekly address Obama informed the country of the investigation undertaken just hours after the tragic shooting:

“On the Thursday evening that this tragedy took place, I met in the Oval Office with Secretary of Defense Gates, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff – Admiral Mullen, and FBI Director Mueller to review the immediate steps that were necessary to support the families and secure Fort Hood. The next morning, I met with the leadership of our military and the intelligence community, and ordered them to undertake a full review of the sequence of events that led up to the shootings.”

Obama promised that those individuals found wanting in the investigation would be held accountable:

“We must compile every piece of information that was known about the gunman, and we must learn what was done with that information. Once we have those facts, we must act upon them. If there was a failure to take appropriate action before the shootings, there must be accountability.” […]

In recent days, reports of Hasan’s alarming mental instability and increasing religious Muslim extremism while assigned to Walter Reed, has raised questions, as to why nothing was done to either treat Hasan for his mental illness or remove him from duty.

Additionally, it’s been revealed that the F.B.I. discovered Hasan had communications with an anti-American cleric in Yemen who was supportive of al Qaeda. The contacts with the cleric were not passed along to Pentagon officials. Hasan was also reported to have said, the military should allow Muslim soldiers to be released as conscientious objectors in order to avoid “adverse events.”

Since the shooting, right-wing pundits and conservative lawmakers have sought to portray the shooting as an act of Islamic terrorism against Americans. Obama cautioned lawmakers and others not to jump ahead of the facts to politicize the tragedy:

“I know there will also be inquiries by Congress, and there should. But all of us should resist the temptation to turn this tragic event into the political theater that sometimes dominates the discussion here in Washington. The stakes are far too high.”

Most notably, Rep. Peter Hoekstra the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, has been critical of the government’s investigation. And in the wake of his grandstanding, he may have disclosed and compromised a sensitive National Security Agency intelligence gathering program. Hoekstra was the “law enforcement official” source quoted by the Washington Post, as the originator of the information about Hasan’s email contacts with the cleric in Yemen.

The information about the email contacts between Hasan and the cleric was not meant to be released into the public domain, until Hoekstra and his loose lips decided on his own, to release the information to the Washington Post.

According to a piece in The Atlantic, “In confirming, on the record, that the government knew about Hasan’s e-mails to al-Awlaki, Hoekstra, at the very least, could have given the cleric notice that his e-mails were being monitored, officials said.”



2 Responses to “Obama to Congress: Don’t Turn Fort Hood Shooting Into ‘Political Theater’”

  1. Ashton O'Dwyer on November 14th, 2009 5:25 pm

    What a hypocrite! Obama and Eric Holder are already feeling “heat” for the FBI’s dereliction of duty in keeping tabs on the Jihadist Terrorist Major Nadil Malik Hasan. This will come out in the House Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs investigation, although I am concerned about the degree of participation in the investigation by the Army, the FBI and the CIA, who will be, essentially, “investigating themselves”. And what about the “political theater” inherent in transporting SELF-ADMITTED INTERNATIONAL TERRORISTS from Guantanomo to New York for criminal trials, instead of trial by Military Tribunal at GITMO, followed by swift, but quiet, EXECUTION, off-stage. Let me pose a rhetorical question for our President: What will be your orders to the U.S. Military when investigation, via “political theater” or otherwise, identifies Major Hasan’s co-conspirators in foreign countries, and what will be your orders to the U.S. Military if any foreign Government is found to be complicit? It’s “pay-back” and “show-time”, Mr. President.

  2. Ashton O'Dwyer on November 14th, 2009 5:41 pm

    Excuse me; but this BLOG “left-out” the most important thing: Obama is, according to other Web-Sites, urging Congress to POSTPONE investigation by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, otherwise set to commence next week, until the Army and “law enforcement” complete their investigations. In other words, Obama and Holder are attempting to “hi-jack” the investigation, or Obama is bowing to pressure from the Department of Defense (the ARMY), the FBI and the CIA to allow THEM – not the Senate Committee – to “control” the investigation. Perhaps what’s “at work” here involves some of both. But this isn’t “good” for diccovering the “truth”, and I don’t believe it’s “good” for improving the Nation’s security.

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