By GARY BAUMGARTEN
Paltalk News Network
The FBI says it is reviewing whether procedures should be changed as a result of its probe last December of U.S. Army Maj. Malik Nadal Hasan, the alleged gunman in the Fort Hood rampage.
The FBI acknowledges that it had intercepted communications between Hasan and an imam in Yemen with ties to two of the 9/11 hijackers. Agents concluded then that Hasan was just doing research in conjunction with his duties as a psychiatrist at Walter Reed Army Hospital.
While acknowledging that the FBI is at a bit of a disadvantage over this issue because there may be some aspects of its investigation that it cannot make public, this is beginning to sound a bit like the recrimination the bureau faced following the 9/11 attacks.
Back then, the FBI, simply put, dropped the ball. It had evidence, sent up through channels from a field agent, that some of the men who later became 9/11 hijackers were taking flying lessons but weren't interested in learning how to take off or land the plane. The agent found this suspicious but it was never taken seriously at FBI Headquarters in Washington. Not taken seriously, that is, until after the 9/11 attacks.
Hindsight is, as they say, 20/20 and in retrospect, perhaps the agents investigating Hasan then now see that they shouldn't have been dismissive of the evidence they had in hand. But as in the case of the student pilots-turned hijackers, it would seem that common sense would result in a prudent response to Hasan. A Muslim Army psychiatrist who apparently saw justification in suicide bombings and who objected to his deployment orders who had had contact with an imam with ties to 9/11. Facts that should have been an indicator to the FBI and the Army that he represented a potential threat.
Following the 9/11 attacks, the intelligence and law enforcement communities pledged to review their procedures and make changes to ensure that another attack wouldn't occur simply because someone was dismissive of the evidence. Now the FBI is talking about yet another such review.
Let's hope that, this time, they get it right.