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Ft. Hood – Intel Failure A Contributor?

One of the jobs of intelligence services is to “connect the dots” and paint a picture with them of looming threats.

Does anyone remember what one of the supposed lessons of 9/11 was?  That intelligence agencies, law enforcement and the services all need to talk and share what they know.  It was the compartmentalization of intelligence which some blame the tragedy of 9/11 on.  The dots were there, but each agency and service was holding them close to their chest and not sharing.  As it turned out, what each had wasn’t enough for that agency or service to positively identify the threat, but when put together, after the fact, painted a pretty clear picture that they should have seen.

Almost 9 years later, if what we’re hearing about Ft. Hood is true, the same problem, at least to some degree, still exists:

Pentagon officials said Tuesday that no one in the U.S. intelligence or law-enforcement community, despite all the new ways information is shared, warned them that accused shooter Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan had been in contact with a radical Islamic cleric living in Yemen who had known three of the 9/11 hijackers. The officials said that information was provided to them only after Thursday’s shooting spree.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, which was tipped about Maj. Hasan based on his communications with the cleric, Anwar al-Awlaki, was probably in the best position to flag officials at the Army or the Pentagon. But the FBI says communications between the men were innocuous and didn’t warrant more than the basic assessment it performed. Without directly pointing any fingers, the bureau also says members of the military served on two separate FBI-led counterterrorism task forces that reviewed the contacts between Mr. Awlaki and Maj. Hasan.

The content of the pair’s communications didn’t raise red flags because terrorism task-force members checked with the military and found that Maj. Hasan was an Army psychiatrist who conducted research and was working on a master’s degree, FBI officials said.

So assumptions were made by the FBI that apparently made them decide this wasn’t information which needed to be shared with the organization with whom Hasan worked. However, had that information been added to the already growing information the Army was acquiring about Hasan internally, would it have made a difference?

I, nor anyone else, can answer that question. However, the fact remains, given the existence of this information, that the Army’s information about Hasan was incomplete. And, it can be suggested, had it been provided, the Army may have taken a much more critical look at Hasan than it apparently did.

That’s not to say Hasan would have been removed, forced out of the Army or anything else by the disclosure of this information. He may have been. But it does give you an idea of what an intelligence failure – in this case the failure to share information that we now know may have connected the dots the Army already had, or prompted them into a more thorough investigation – can cost lives.

There are many, many more things to discuss about this massacre, but that’s one that shouldn’t be among them. This was supposedly solved by all those commissions and a intelligence czar and regulations and laws which required everyone share intel. Now we have a prima facia case where we find out that isn’t the case. And the results were deadly.

This also points to what may be a wider problem and one that could be – again – just as deadly, if not more so, in the future. This needs to be fixed once and for all, and if heads need to figuratively roll to reinforce the point and make it happen, then get to choppin’.


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15 Responses to Ft. Hood – Intel Failure A Contributor?

  • Let the finger pointing begin. 

    Especially irritating when fear over political correctness, diversity mandates and profiling probably had a big roll in encouraging a breakdown of common sense on all sides. 

    • But to call this an act of terrorism, the White House would need an autographed photo of Osama bin Laden helping Hasan buy weapons in downtown Killeen, Texas. Even that might not suffice.

  • McQ: “However, the fact remains, given the existence of this information, that the Army’s information about Hasan was incomplete.”

    It was complete enough.

    • Martin McPhillips[The Army’s information about Hasan] was complete enough.

      Devil’s advocate:

      To do what?  Have him shadowed?  Discharge him from the service?   Arrest him?   Bring him in for questioning?  Throw him into prison?  As near as I can tell, the man hadn’t actually committed a positive crime or even expressed a clear intent to do so.

      We’re in much the same boat as we were with Cho and Virginia Tech: yes, there were warning signs that were clear in hindsight, but our laws and traditions don’t normally allow people to be scooped up by the government over “warning signs”.

      • Can’t they discharge members of street gangs or overt racists/neo-nazis?

        given this guys statements in support for suicide bombing, killing infidels, and efforts to contact al Quada, why could’nt they discharge him?

      • Complete enough to exercise extreme caution until he could be dismissed from service or taken into custody or otherwise disposed of. Creating imaginary bureaucratic dilemmas (bureaucrats move fast enough when their asses are about to be fried) is not a legitimate “devil’s advocate” approach.

        • Martin McPhillipsComplete enough to exercise extreme caution until he could be dismissed from service or taken into custody or otherwise disposed of.

          This is a dilemma.  On the one hand, Hasan should AT THE VERY LEAST have been investigated more thoroughly.  It is obvious (in hindsight) that he should have been locked up or at least shadowed.  But, on the other hand, do we really want to start arresting people or even having the FBI crawling all over them because we THINK that they MIGHT be up to no good?  Consider a few months ago when DHS issued its infamous warning about “right wing terrorism” (boy, did they miss the boat or what???): does anybody doubt that Napolitano, Holder, or Imeme would lock up Roger Ailes or Rush or even McQ in a heartbeat on “suspicion” if we had the legal framework / precedent for such an action?  Hell’s bells, SanFran Nan is claiming that locking up people who friggin’ fail to buy health insurance is “fair”.

          Let’s say that the Army discharged him.  What then?  We may assume that his homocidal desires wouldn’t have disappeared; instead of murdering a group of soldiers at Ft. Hood in the name of jihad, he might have shot up a mall, a school, or his apartment complex.  As I see it, the only way that this f*cker could have been stopped would be by locking him up for many years or executing him.  Yet, he had not committed a capital crime BEFORE he fired the first round. 

          Martin McPhillipsCreating imaginary bureaucratic dilemmas (bureaucrats move fast enough when their asses are about to be fried) is not a legitimate “devil’s advocate” approach.

          The dilemma isn’t bureaucratic: it is a dilemma between trying to ensure our safety from psychotic killers (islamofascist or otherwise) and leaving our liberties intact.

          Further, I suggest that “bureaucratic dilemmas” are FAR from imaginary: they are an unfortunate fact.  Fox News has this little tidbit (via AoSHQ):

          Investigators would have been “crucified” over First Amendment rights if they had launched a full-scale probe into e-mails Fort Hood massacre suspect Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan allegedly sent to a radical imam, a government investigator told Fox News.

          Had we launched an investigation of Hasan we’d have been crucified,” the investigator said, adding that the communications were shared with the “appropriate chains.”  [emphasis mine – dj505]

          You’re right about one thing: bureaucrats CAN move fast when threatened.  O’ course, in this case, the threat that worried them wasn’t Hasan going psycho, but rather the threat posed to their jobs by the PC brigades at DoJ, DNC, MiniTru, CAIR, etc.

          We’ve got to change that paradigm.

    • I depends on whether or not it had been consolidated and his commander knew. I’m not yet sure that’s the case. I think what we’ve heard are a bunch of people coming forward relating anecdotes about things that took place at different times and at different places that were never brought to anyone’s attention then and never forwarded to his commander. I could be wrong, but that’s what I’ve gathered from what I’ve read to this point.

  • I suggest that this, like similar disasters, is less a failing of intelligence than a failing of taking a threat seriously.  Compare and contrast to Pearl Harbor or 9-11:

    1.  Though there was a general threat, the people involved seem to have thought that “it won’t happen here”.

    2.  To the extent that the people involved prepared for the threat, the preparations were incorrect, inadequate, or even worked in the enemy’s favor (no guns on Ft. Hood; aircraft lined up wingtip to wingtip at Hickam and Wheeler Fields).

    3.  People seem to have had the hazy belief that the enemy would make his intentions crystal clear in plenty of time to take countermeasures.

    4.  People failed to use their imagination or initiative but instead stuck to safe, bureaucratic routines and / or assumed that somebody else was doing something about it.

    5.  People underestimated the enemy’s imagination and determination.

    Nobody wants to rock the boat.  Nobody wants to cry wolf.  Nobody wants to stick his neck out.  Nobody wants to take a chance on “offending” somebody.

    Unless and until people all through the government stop acting as though the WoT and threat posed by islamofascists (and garden variety lunatics, for that matter) is less important than political correctness, not rocking the boat, or not getting kicked out of their daily ruts, we’re going to remain in mortal danger.

  • Simple enough, George Bush’s fault.
    Microsoft PC Robert Gibbs will now take the next question.

    • This is a question that needs to be resolved …
      does Gibbs look more like the Apple “PC guy” or the “Peter Griffin” of “Family Guy” ?

  • Well according to the sockpuppet master Glenn Greenwald, suggesting that Hasan’s yelling Allah Akbar was an act of terrorism is repellent (racism dog whistle).
    Glenn is such an ignorant nob.  Watch Rick Ellers come by (or perhaps Mona)

  • intel failure or political correctness?    probably both, but that doesn’t change the fact that this was an islamic terrorist attack on obama’s watch.   Why is everybody so afraid to say that?  Do they really believe that his religious beliefs had nothing to do with his actions?

  • One official involved in the conversations had reportedly told colleagues that he worried that if Hasan deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, he might leak secret military information to Islamic extremists. Another official reportedly wondered aloud to colleagues whether Hasan might be capable of committing fratricide, like the Muslim U.S. Army sergeant who, in 2003, killed two fellow soldiers and injured 14 others by setting off grenades at a base in Kuwait.

    President Obama’s military has a real problem here.

  • my sympathy goes out to those families that suffered this tragic experience especially during the holidays and I just give them the hope of courage and wisdom to get through this ordeal.