Lieberman, Collins accuse Obama administration of impeding their Fort Hood probe

By Spencer S. Hsu
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, April 16, 2010

Two senators accused the Obama administration Thursday of impeding an investigation into whether the government missed warning signs leading up to the Nov. 5 shootings at Fort Hood, Tex., threatening to subpoena documents from the FBI and Pentagon if they are not delivered by Monday.

Sens. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), the chairman and ranking minority member of the Senate homeland security committee, said they requested, among other documents, the personnel file of the alleged shooter, Army Maj. Nidal M. Hasan, and his communications with Yemeni cleric and suspected terrorist Anwar al-Aulaqi.

"The painful fact is that 13 Americans died in the Fort Hood massacre," Lieberman said. "We owe it to them and their survivors and everyone else in our country to determine whether our government could have prevented their deaths -- and if so, why it did not -- so that we can make sure it does the next time."

Collins faulted administration aides for "an inexplicable determination to stalemate and slow-walk our investigation."

In an April 12 letter, lawyers for the Justice and Defense departments said some requested materials could compromise Hasan's prosecution.

The White House referred questions to the Pentagon.

Defense spokesman Bryan Whitman said the department has moved "expeditiously and continuously" to ensure the safety of U.S. military personnel and facilities. On Thursday, the Pentagon announced the implementation of 26 of 79 security and administrative recommendations made by a panel appointed by Secretary Robert M. Gates.

"We will continue to work with the Congress, while ensuring the integrity of our own internal review as well as the criminal investigation and prosecution of Nidal Hasan," Whitman said.

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