Eight U.S. Army Officers Could Face Rebuke in Ft. Hood Shooting

January 15, 2010 - 5:06 AM
The report on what went wrong in the case of Army Maj. Nidal Hasan is expected to be released Friday.
Fort Hood shooting

Spc. Ryan Howard of Niles, Mich., right and Spc. David Straub of Ardmore, Okla. wait for news of fellow soldiers while waiting at the gate of the Army base after a shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, Thursday, Nov. 5, 2009. (AP Photo)

Washington (AP) - As many as eight Army officers could face punishment for failing to do anything when the alleged shooter in the Fort Hood rampage displayed erratic behavior early in his military career, a U.S. official says.
 
The officers supervised the suspect when he was a medical student and during his work as an Army psychiatrist at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
 
Defense Secretary Robert Gates was expected to refer findings on the officers to the Army for further inquiry and possible punishment. The report on what went wrong in the case of Army Maj. Nidal Hasan is expected to be released Friday.
 
The official said Thursday that a Pentagon inquiry finds fault with five to eight supervisors who knew or should have known about the shortcomings and erratic behavior of Hasan, who's accused of killing 13 people at the Texas Army base on Nov. 5.
 
The official described the confidential report on condition of anonymity because it has not been made public.
 
According to information gathered during the internal Pentagon review and obtained by The Associated Press last week, Hasan's strident views on Islam became more pronounced as his training progressed. Worries about his competence also grew, yet his superiors continued to give him positive performance evaluations that kept him moving through the ranks. That led to his eventual assignment at Fort Hood.
 
Recent statistics show the Army rarely blocks junior officers from promotion, especially in the medical corps.
 
Hasan showed no signs of being violent or a threat. But parallels have been drawn between the missed signals in his case and those preceding the failed Christmas Day attempt to blow up a Detroit-bound U.S. airliner. President Barack Obama and his top national security aides have acknowledged they had intelligence about the alleged bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, but failed to connect the dots.
 
The Pentagon review is not intended to delve into allegations Hasan corresponded by e-mail with Yemen-based radical cleric, Anwar al-Awlaki, before the Fort Hood shootings. Those issues are part of a separate criminal investigation by U.S. law enforcement officials.
 
Hasan has been charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder. Authorities have not said whether they plan to seek the death penalty.
 
After the Fort Hood shootings, Gates appointed two former senior defense officials to examine the procedures and policies for identifying threats within the military services. The review was led by former Army Secretary Togo West and retired Navy Adm. Vernon Clark.
 
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Associated Press writer Richard Lardner contributed to this report.