A Pentagon review has found that supervisors and colleagues of Army Maj. Nidal Hasan, who is accused in a shooting spree that left 13 people dead at the Fort Hood military base in Texas in November, failed to confront obvious issues about his behavior and performance, The Associated Press reported.
The review, expected to be released on Friday, doesn’t examine whether Hasan’s alleged shooting spree was terrorism, a subject of a criminal inquiry. But it says as many as eight Army officers could face discipline for failing to report Hasan’s erratic behavior, which included an apparent fixation on religion.
Writes the AP:
Hasan was often late or absent, sometimes appeared disheveled and performed to minimum requirements. The pattern that was obvious to many around him yet not fully reflected where it counted in the Army’s bureaucratic system of evaluation and promotion, investigators found.
Hasan nonetheless earned some good reviews from patients and colleagues. His promotion to major was based on an incomplete personnel file, one official said, but also on performance markers that Hasan had met, if barely.
The Pentagon report also says the military should participate more fully in FBI-run Joint Terrorism Task Forces, including fully staffing teams of f investigators, analysts, linguists and others.
UPDATE: Defense Secretary Robert Gates addressed the report’s findings in a news conference this morning. Read the New York Times report here.
The Justice Department in a Monday court filing said it can’t find 10 documents that are supposed to be released as part of a Freedom of Information Act request filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, Al Kamen reported in The Washington Post.
The ACLU’s five-year FOIA battle seeks to illuminate the process that led to a policy of harsh interrogations of terrorism suspects during the Bush administration. One of the 10 missing documents is a 59-page exchange in 2002 between the Office of Legal Counsel and the Pentagon on the eve of a decision to increase the intensity of the interrogations, Kamen reported.
The Justice Department was able to find an additional 224 documents relevant to the ACLU’s 2005 request, Kamen said. They were found in three safes and in “the back of a third drawer” inside OLC’s room for highly classified documents. The documents were located by two visiting Assistant U.S. Attorneys from New York and one DOJ attorney.
Acting Assistant Attorney General for the OLC David J. Barron had to explain the loss to a federal judge in New York. He wrote: “Due to their extreme sensitivity at the time,” the relevant document set was not copied and its contents were “intermingled” with other files in the room. The documents then took the scenic tour of Washington, D.C., first going to another special room at DOJ, then to the CIA in 2007 and stopping at the Office of Professional Responsibility until March.
Kamen reported there is no word on if or when the documents might be made public.
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The American Civil Liberties Union and the Pentagon have struck a deal for the May 28 release of many Bush-era photos documenting prisoner abuse at military prisons, TIME reported today. A journalist friend of ours who knows this story well reports the photos are expected to show abuse in Afghanistan and other locations in Iraq.
The collection includes official photos and informal pictures taken by soldiers, TIME said. The pictures, which were obtained during Defense Department investigations of military prisons, will show abuse that is “far beyond the walls of Abu Ghraib,” ACLU lawyer Amrit Singh told TIME.
“We know this could make things tougher for our troops, but the court decisions really don’t leave us with any other option,” a senior Pentagon official told TIME.
Release of the photos is a big victory for the ACLU, which has long been pressing the Pentagon for them.