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McCain Calls Out Fort Hood Review For ‘Political Correctness’

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is less than satisfied with the report of a commission empaneled by Defense Secretary Robert Gates to investigate the deadly Fort Hood shootings in November. At a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing that just got underway, the ranking Republican chided the commission for insufficiently focusing on perpetrator Nidal Malik Hasan’s Islamic radicalism. “It was motives that led to the Fort Hood killings,” McCain said, “whatever the political correctness” implications of saying so. The report doesn’t specifically deal with that, and so it provides “insufficient information” to guide institutional changes to prevent the next Fort Hood.

Togo West, a former Army secretary and co-chairman of the commission, didn’t exactly disagree. ”We must understand the forces that causes an individual to radicalize, to commit violent acts and thereby threaten us all from within,” West said. But both West and ret. Adm. Vernon Clark, his co-chairman, said that they received a narrower mandate from Gates, one that focused largely on examining the Army’s policies to protect its force from an internal threat. Even so, the fifth section of their report, West testified, contained what Pentagon lawyers considered information that could be prejudicial to Hasan’s ultimate prosecution, so it’s become a classified annex.

“The task of ID’ing employees who could threaten the workforce” is insufficient within the Department of Defense,” Clark cautioned, especially about “a trusted insider’s intentions… There’s a requirement to understand behavioral cues and anamolies,” he continues. ”While the Department focuses very effectively on many things, there is insufficient knowledge and guidance concerning who this insider threat is. Who are these people?” That can’t please McCain.

But Clark said the threat is bigger than Islamic extremism. “We’re talking about the behaviors that create and lead to violence,” Clark said.

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