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August 28, 2013

MOTHER JONES MAGAZINE: EMAILS OF NIDAL HASAN, WELL KNOWN TO FBI AND PENTAGON OFFICIALS, SUGGEST THAT OBVIOUS VIOLENT THREAT AND SECURITY RISK WAS SIMPLY IGNORED

13 (14) people dead is an awfully high price to pay for Political Correctness.

I'm as shocked as you are that this is in Mother Jones. I should also note that the headline is my headline, not theirs.

But theirs is nearly as forward-leaning:

Internal Documents Reveal How the FBI Blew Fort Hood


Nearly a year before the massacre, the bureau intercepted emails between Nidal Hasan and radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki that officials called "fairly benign." They are anything but.

Be prepared to be enraged, and enraged in the worst possible way: Enraged and powerless, because you know damn well, no matter how many people die, they will keep on doing this.

Because NoH8 you guys.

I can only excerpt this. Be aware, the article is fairly brief (2 pages) and packs a lot into those pages. So you should read the whole thing.

But in the interests of having something here besides a link...

Last Thursday, as the jury in the trial of Nidal Hasan was deliberating, outgoing FBI Director Robert Mueller appeared on CBS News and discussed a string of emails between the Fort Hood shooter and Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical Islamic cleric with ties to the 9/11 hijackers. The FBI had intercepted the messages starting almost a year before Hasan's 2009 shooting rampage, and Mueller was asked whether "the bureau dropped the ball" by failing to act on this information. He didn't flinch: "No, I think, given the context of the discussions and the situation that the agents and the analysts were looking at, they took appropriate steps."

In the wake of the Fort Hood attacks, the exchanges between Awlaki and Hasan—who was convicted of murder on Friday—were the subject of intense speculation. But the public was given little information about these messages. While officials claimed that they were "fairly benign," the FBI blocked then-Sen. Joseph Lieberman's efforts to make them public as part of a two-year congressional investigation into Fort Hood. The military judge in the Hasan case also barred the prosecutor from presenting them, saying they would cause "unfair prejudice" and "undue delay."

As it turns out, the FBI quietly released the emails in an unclassified report on the shooting, which was produced by an investigative commission headed by former FBI director William H. Webster last year. And, far from being "benign," they offer a chilling glimpse into the psyche of an Islamic radical. The report also shows how badly the FBI bungled its Hasan investigation and suggests that the Army psychiatrist's deadly rampage could have been prevented.

Hasan first appeared on the bureau's radar in December of 2008—nearly a year before the Fort Hood massacre—when he emailed Awlaki to ask him whether serving in the US military was compatible with the Muslim faith. He also asked whether Awlaki considered those who died attacking their fellow soldiers "shaheeds," or martyrs.

I could end the excerpt right there. Again, you have to read it all. There's also a bit about some run-of-the-mill bureaucratic bungling; that's not such a big deal, as bureaucratic bungling is the chief output of a bureaucracy.

It's the decision to ignore a man asking a radical terrorist preacher if it's okay to murder his fellow army soldiers that is the infuriating, heartbreaking, hair-tearing part here.

...

Meanwhile, Hasan kept writing Awlaki. Between January and May 2009, he sent the radical cleric more than a dozen emails, and received two relatively benign responses. In one message, ostensibly about Palestinians firing unguided rockets into Israel, Hasan asked Awlaki whether "indiscriminately killing civilians" was acceptable. Two days later, he sent another message answering his own question: "Hamas and the Muslims hate to hurt the innocent but they have no choice if their going to have a chance to survive, flourish, and deter the zionist enemy. The recompense for an evil is an evil." (Hasan's emails contained a number of typos.)

Let me point out the obvious: This man is a commissioned officer in the United States army, with a security clearance, asking a terrorist leader if it's okay to murder civilians, seeking his wisdom on slaughter.

And the FBI, and the Pentagon, say Meh.

They're ignoring this type of thing.

And yet we need the NSA spying on everyday citizens?

...

Meanwhile, the Washington-based DCIS agent assigned to investigate Hasan put off his inquiry for another 90 days, the maximum allowed under joint task force rules, before conducting a cursory investigation.

...

[T]he DCIS investigator concluded, based on Hasan's file, that the Army psychiatrist had contacted Awlaki in connection with his academic research and "was not involved in terrorist activity." The DCIS investigator and a supervisory agent in the Washington field office debated interviewing Hasan or his superiors. They ultimately decided doing so could jeopardize the Awlaki investigation or harm Hasan's career.

Remember why John Kerry returned to work the suspended State Department employees...? Because they were "real people" with "real careers."

Advocates for Fort Hood victims find this decision puzzling. "A US Army major is writing to this imam and essentially asking for religious sanction to kill American soldiers," said attorney Reed Rubinstein, who represents a group of victims who are suing the federal government. "And the FBI's Washington field office doesn't even interview the man or make a phone call to his superiors. It's utterly incomprehensible."

There is more. There is so much more. At every turn, the FBI cleared him, almost always after a very perfunctory (hours long) review. They gave him such a short inspection that people began wondering if he was a Confidential Informant -- how could an obvious terrorist threat be ignored by the FBI, if he were not a CI undercover?

But he wasn't.

The FBI kept giving him clean reviews for no reason.

Except, maybe, for the obvious reason.

See no evil. Don't rock the boat. The real rule coming down from the brass is not "find terrorists," but "don't insult Muslim sensibilities," and sometimes that means clearing a man who is asking a terrorist cleric if he can go to Heaven if he murders his fellow soldiers.

Institutions have a Paper Rule and a Real Rule.

Everyone knows to follow the Real Rule and ignore the Paper Rule.

The government's Real Rule is to promote possible terrorists, not investigate them and intervene.

There will be another 9/11.

And this time, the government really will have been in on it from the beginning.







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