Senate Homeland Security Chairman Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., and Ranking Member Susan Collins, R-Me., formally announced on Monday that their Committee will be conducting an investigation into last week’s murders at Ft. Hood, beginning with a public hearing next week.
The Senators released the following statements today on their inquiry and intention to hold hearings on the attack:
“This murderous attack should be examined from every angle to make sure nothing like this occurs again,” Lieberman said. “While we in no way will interfere with the Army or FBI’s criminal investigations, the Committee will be conducting an investigation into what Major Nidal Malik Hasan’s motives were, whether the government missed warning signs that should have led to expulsion, and what lessons we can learn to prevent such future attacks. As this investigation continues, we would do no favor to the thousands of Muslim Americans who are serving our military with honor and the millions of patriotic and law-abiding Muslim Americans by ignoring real evidence that an individual Muslim American soldier may have become a violent Islamist extremist.
“Three years ago, this Committee, then led by Senator Collins, started an investigation into the threat of homegrown Islamist terrorism. That resulted in a bipartisan report concluding ‘no longer is the [terrorist] threat just from abroad, as was the case with the attacks of September 11, 2001; the threat is now increasingly from within, from homegrown terrorists who are inspired by violent Islamist ideology to plan and execute attacks where they live.’ This attack, in addition to recent cases in Minnesota, Arkansas, North Carolina and elsewhere, appears to be a further example of that threat. At a September 2007 hearing, FBI Director Robert Mueller told the Committee that ‘lone wolf’ terrorists were of particular concern to law enforcement and that we needed to take steps to address that particular threat. The United States needs to heed his warning.”
Senator Collins said: “The Fort Hood slayings were tragic and heartbreaking. It is important for our nation to understand what precipitated this horrific attack so that we may work to prevent future incidents. The investigation is about understanding the factors that led Major Hasan—a senior Army officer and a psychiatrist trained to ease human suffering—to kill and injure so many of his fellow soldiers. We owe that to our military, to their families, and to their communities.
“Our military must be prepared to detect the warning signs for potential violence and to intervene and prevent similar attacks in the future,” she said. “This hearing is vital to assuring the men and women serving in our military and their families that their safety is a top priority for us.
“Let me express my personal gratitude to the thousands of American Muslims serving in our military and working to defeat terrorism. Any of them could have been another victim of Major Hasan’s attack,” Collins noted.”
Since December 2006, the Committee has held nine hearings on the threat of homegrown terrorism. In May 2008, the Committee released a report, “Violent Islamist Extremism, the Internet, and the Homegrown Terrorist Threat.”