Jim Kouri
Fort Hood cover-up denied by Secretary Gates
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By Jim Kouri
April 19, 2010

A ranking US congressman said that he is concerned that President Barack Obama and his administration is being less than forthcoming with details of the Fort Hood Massacre and is withholding requested information.

U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI), the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, claims that the Obama administration may be restricting the dissemination of information and limited information provided so far to the so-called "Gang of Eight."

Congressman Hoekstra, followed up on multiple conversations with the Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair, requested that Blair and the heads of the FBI, the NSA and the CIA direct their agencies to preserve all documents and materials relevant to the Fort Hood attack and any related investigations or intelligence collection activities.

However, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates on Friday disputed claims that the U.S. Defense Department was withholding information from the Committee about the November 5, 2009 Fort Hood, Texas, shootings allegedly perpetrated by Army Major Nidal Hasan, according to a report from Donna Miles of the American Forces Press Service.

"We have no interest in hiding anything," said Gates.

"But what [is] most important," Gates told reporters, "is this prosecution, and we will cooperate with the committee in every way with that single caveat — that whatever we provide does not impact the prosecution. That is the only thing in which we have an interest."

"Our priority is in ensuring we don't do anything that would potentially impact the prosecution of Major [Nidal] Hasan," Gates said, referring to the alleged shooter, who killed 12 soldiers and one civilian during his "personal jihad."

Gates told the news media that the Defense Department is implementing changes to help prevent another attack like the one at Fort Hood, but he cautioned that such crimes cannot be completely prevented.

"One would be foolish" to say a similar incident could never happen again," he said. However, he noted that steps are being taken to help reduce the likelihood.

"Clearly one element of that is better sharing and information from post to post and commander to commander," he said.

Gates this week directed the Defense Department to implement 26 interim recommendations of an independent panel he appointed to look into events surrounding the shooting. Hasan, an Army officer, has been charged with 13 counts of murder and 32 counts of attempted murder.

The panel detailed 79 recommendations to improve force protection and tighten gaps in personnel policies, emergency response, mass casualty preparedness and support to Defense Department health care providers.

The secretary approved the 26 recommendations in their entirety while work continues on the other 53 recommendations. The panel's full report is expected to be released in June, 2010.

© Jim Kouri

 

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Jim Kouri

Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police... (more)

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