The Obama administration on Tuesday had the president’s National Security Council take control of congressional briefings on the Fort Hood killings and asked Democratic leaders to delay a probe, as top Republicans said intelligence shortcomings blamed for failing to prevent the 9/11 attacks are re-emerging.
Rep. Silvestre Reyes, chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said that the NSC had taken over the briefings “due to the high visibility of the issues surrounding the tragic event at Fort Hood,” and that Democratic leaders agreed to postpone any congressional action on the shootings.
“This is a somewhat complicated case,” the Texas Democrat said of the Nov. 6 rampage, attributed to Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, that left 13 dead and 29 wounded on the country’s largest Army post.
He said Congress should give “the guys who are charged with protecting this country, protecting our national security” time to do their work and “wait until all the facts are in.”
But Rep. Peter Hoekstra of Michigan, the ranking Republican on the intelligence committee, said the country cannot afford to wait to find out if failures in the intelligence community and the Pentagon are allowing other potential attackers to fester within the military.
“The prosecutor in this case is not assigned the responsibility to take a look into the process of how to keep America safe. That is the responsibility of Congress,” he said. “It has to happen now. This is not something we should take weeks or months to wait on.”
Mr. Hoekstra and the other eight Republicans on the committee outlined their concerns in a letter Tuesday to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, that called for an immediate investigation.
“The future security of over 300 million Americans is far more pressing than after-the-fact investigation of one man,” the letter said.
Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said the intelligence committee will continue its oversight work of the Fort Hood tragedy