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Army: No single action could have prevented Fort Hood killings

From Charley Keyes, CNN Senior Producer
Maj. Nidal Hasan is accused of the November 5, 2009, shootings, in which 13 people were killed.
Maj. Nidal Hasan is accused of the November 5, 2009, shootings, in which 13 people were killed.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Army report: Methods for protecting soldiers, collecting intelligence need overhaul
  • Army participation in Joint Terrorism Task Force is one remedy, report says
  • Report cites failure to share information and encourage people to come forward
  • Army says some changes have already been implemented
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Washington (CNN) -- The Army must transform how it protects its soldiers, collects information about internal threats and communicates with the FBI and terrorism experts in an effort to prevent another incident like last year's shootings at Fort Hood in Texas, a report by the Army and the Department of Defense says.

The report, released Tuesday, says a remedy will be more Army participation in the Joint Terrorism Task Force, teams of experts drawn from law enforcement and intelligence agencies. It also recommends that Army agents within the FBI headquarters work as part of the threat management unit.

The report highlights a failure to share information inside the Army and to encourage anyone, without fear of punishment, to voice suspicions about others in the military.

"The focus of the findings and recommendations in the Information Sharing area was the lack of policy, procedures and systems for the sharing of threat related information between the Services, Combatant Commands, DoD and other federal agencies such as the FBI," the report said. The Army report is 118 pages and titled "Army Internal Review Team: Final Report."

The Air Force, Navy and Marines released separate reports.

Maj. Nidal Hasan, a Army psychiatrist and U.S.-born Muslim, is accused of the November 5, 2009, shootings, in which 13 people were killed and dozens wounded. An evidentiary hearing is set to resume on Monday, a step toward the military decision on whether Hasan will face a court-martial and a possible death penalty.

After the shootings there were numerous reports of Hasan's outspoken opposition to the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and to Muslims killing Muslims. Hasan was days away from shipping out to Afghanistan at the time of the shootings.

Also, Hasan reportedly had communicated by e-mail with radical Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, something U.S. government agencies apparently knew about but did not tell the military.

Army Secretary John McHugh and Gen. George Casey, chief of staff of the Army, were at Fort Hood on Friday to mark the first anniversary of the shootings. McHugh was asked whether the Army had done enough to respond to warning signals about Hasan. He said the Army is "looking at the final parts of assessing exactly what was known, what officers and soldiers knew about that particular individual and what was done, if anything, to react to it."

The Army report says no single action would have prevented Fort Hood.

"However, in the aggregate, the initiatives outlined by the Army's internal review team will significantly improve the Army's ability to mitigate internal threats, ensure FP [force protection], enable emergency response and provide care for the victims and families."

The report says the Army needs to create a kind of "neighborhood watch" program that will teach members of the Army community to recognize and report suspicious behavior.

The report acknowledges that members of Congress continue to press the Defense Department and U.S. intelligence agencies for what they knew about Hasan. "Much of the information requested has not been released because it would compromise the trial of the alleged perpetrator," the report says.

The Army says it already has implemented changes, including having first responders move in quickly to respond to a shooting rather than cordoning it off and awaiting special teams.

Some of the recommendations were general and some were very specific. The Army is still working on ways to identify what it calls "observable indicators for espionage, terrorism and extremism," according to the report.

Another recommendation says, "[Military Police] are now authorized to use jacketed hollow point ammunition to reduce the risk of injury to innocent bystanders."

 
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