Review of Fort Hood shooting calls for FBI changes

Posted at 3:32 PM, Jul 07, 2012
and last updated 2012-07-07 15:33:20-04

By Carol Cratty

WASHINGTON (CNN) — A review of the 2009 Fort Hood shooting rampage will recommend the FBI make 18 changes in policies and operations, according to a letter by the former FBI director leading the independent review.

The Fort Hood shootings outraged members of Congress when it was learned that the accused shooter, Army Maj. Nidal Hasan, had been communicating with Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, an Islamic radical.

In a July 3 letter to a member of Congress, Judge William Webster said he would be handing over his report to FBI Director Robert Mueller within 10 days.

Webster said his report will have 18 “formal recommendations for corrective and enhancing measures on matters ranging from FBI policies and operations to information systems infrastructure, review protocols, and training.” But he did not provide any specifics in his letter to Rep. Frank Wolf, a Virginian Republican.

Webster said his report will run more than 150 single-spaced pages, and it resulted from more than 50 formal interviews, meetings and briefings; 10,000 pages of documents; and direct access to FBI computer systems.

Hasan has been charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted murder in the shootings. The military psychiatrist allegedly shot at fellow soldiers preparing to deploy to Iraq and Afghanistan. His court martial is scheduled to begin August 20; he faces a maximum penalty of death if convicted.

An FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force learned that Hasan was communicating via e-mail with al-Awlaki but decided Hasan was not dangerous.

There were also problems with information-sharing with the military about Hasan’s activities, and the Army drew much criticism for continuing to promote Hasan even though his records showed concerns were raised about his adherence to radical views.

Mueller asked Webster to review the Fort Hood shootings. In his letter to Wolf, Webster described the task as “a complex and lengthy assignment.”

Webster said he and his team interviewed all members of the FBI and Joint Terrorism Task Forces involved in the matter, and sought outside perspective from experts on Islamic radicalism and counterterrrorism, as well as staff from congressional committees involved with FBI oversight.

Webster told Wolf he expected a public version of his report would be made available once redactions of classified material take place.