A Ticking Time Bomb: Counterterrorism Lessons From the U.S. Government's Failure to Prevent the Fort Hood Attack
SENATE (UNITED STATES) WASHINGTON DC COMMITTEE ON HOMELAND SECURITY AND GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS
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On November 5, 2009, a lone attacker strode into the deployment center at Fort Hood, Texas. Moments later, 13 Department of Defense DoD employees were dead and another 32 were wounded in the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil since September 11, 2001. The U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs launched an investigation of the events preceding the attack with two purposes 1 to assess the information that the U.S. Government possessed prior to the attack and the actions that it took or failure to take in response to that information and 2 to identify steps necessary to protect the United States against future acts of terrorism by homegrown violent Islamist extremists. This investigation flows from the Committees four-year, bipartisan review of the threat of violent Islamist extremism to our homeland which has included numerous briefings, hearings, consultations, and the publication of a staff report in 2008 concerning the internet and terrorism. In our investigation of the Fort Hood attack, we have been cognizant of the record of success by DoD and the Federal Bureau of Investigation FBI in the ten years since 911. We recognize that detection and interdiction of lone wolf terrorists is one of the most difficult challenges facing our law enforcement and intelligence agencies. Every day, these agencies are presented with myriad leads that require the exercise of sound judgment to determine which to pursue and which to close out. Leaders must allocate their time, attention, and inherently limited resources on the highest priority cases. In addition, the individual accused of the Fort Hood attack, Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan, is a U.S. citizen. Even where there is evidence that a U.S. citizen may be radicalizing, the Constitution appropriately limits the actions that government can take.
- Unconventional Warfare