Members to Scrutinize Fort Hood Massacre, May Seek Investigation

Posted November 15, 2009 at 11:11am

Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy said Sunday that Attorney General Eric Holder will be questioned about the Fort Hood killings when he appears before the Judiciary panel this week.The Vermont Democrat, speaking on CBS’ “Face the Nation,— said that mistakes were made in the government’s handling of the alleged killer, Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, who had grown increasingly disillusioned with the military and had sent e-mails to a radical cleric in Yemen.“There will be an investigation,— he said. Furthermore, Leahy said that when Holder appears before his committee on Wednesday, “I fully expect he will be asked about it.—Leahy, however, warned that any investigation should not impair the military’s court martial proceedings against Hasan.Also speaking on CBS, Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.), ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee, urged a full-fledged Congressional investigation of what happened with Hasan. Hoekstra said that there is a need to “move aggressively— to look for information about who knew what and when.Hoekstra also criticized Holder’s decision to hold a civilian trial of Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the accused mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist strikes, in New York City.“This is ideology run wild,— he said, adding that the decision will result in a circus-like atmosphere in the courtroom. He said the trial could run a number of years and reopen the wounds of the attack on the World Trade Center towers.But Leahy defended the civilian trial, saying it would show the world the U.S. judicial system works.“I have a lot of faith in our judges to know how to run a trial,— he said.The decision by the Obama administration to hold civilian trials also drew sharp criticism from former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R), who appeared on several of the network talk shows Sunday.Giuliani, who was mayor of New York at the time of attack on the World Trade Center, said the decision not to try the terrorist in a military tribunal sends a message from the administration that officials believe the war on terrorism was over.He said a civilian trial will be more concerned about rights of terrorists and much less with the benefits to the public.“This is part of the whole package of the president not seeing the war on terrorism,— he said on “Fox News Sunday.— But Giuliani said the New York police could handle the high-profile trial in their city.“If the case has to be in New York, we could handle it,— he said.Interviewed also on Fox, Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) said that holding the civilian trial in New York would demonstrate that the Sept. 11 attacks did not destroy the spirit of the U.S. democracy.“You are vindicating this country’s basic values,— he said. “This is an opportunity to show we are better than they are.—In related national security news, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Sunday urged President Barack Obama to stop delaying the decision on whether to send more troops to Afghanistan.“We are a little bit perplexed about the length of time it is taking to make the decision,— McConnell said on “Fox News Sunday.—McConnell said that if Obama agrees with the generals to send 40,000 troops to Afghanistan, he will have “overwhelming support— from Republicans.Obama, who has been reviewing his Afghanistan policy, has been torn between military advisers who want to escalate troop presence and others, including Vice President Joseph Biden, who are cautioning about dangers of taking such action. In addition, many liberal Democrats in Congress oppose increasing the military presence in the war-torn country.Speaking on both NBC’s “Meet the Press— and ABC’s “This Week,— Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton defended Obama’s decision-making process. She said on ABC that he is “going the extra mile— to make the right decision, and said on both networks that the administration is pressing Afghan President Hamid Karzai to implement many reforms as a condition of receiving further U.S. support.