A top Republican congressional recruit said on Friday that the shooting at Ft. Hood, Texas yesterday by a solider allegedly sympathetic to suicide bombers shows that the "enemy is infiltrating our military."
Allen West (R-Fla.), a retired military colonel who served as a commander at the Texas base, said in a release that Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan's attack may indicate a broader effort by Islamic extremists to recruit downtrodden members of the military.
"This enemy preys on downtrodden soldiers and teaches them extremism will lift them up," West said in a statement. "Our soldiers are being brainwashed."
The release added that West claims "the horrible tragedy at Fort Hood is proof the enemy is infiltrating our military."
The suspected gunman, Maj. Hasan, is an Army psychiatrist tasked with helping soldiers who are in distress. Military investigators have not yet determined what sparked him to turn on his fellow soldiers. But Ft. Hood's base commander, Lt. Gen. Robert Cone, said Friday on NBC's "Today" show that Hasan shouted "Allahu Akbar!" before opening fire yesterday in a rampage that killed 13 and wounded 30. "Allahu Akbar!" is Arabic for "God is great!"
Though the 39-year-old's motive for shooting is still unclear, Hasan was preparing to deploy overseas and had previously voiced resentment toward the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. A base official told the AP he was deploying to Afghanistan. Law enforcement officials six months ago became familiar with Hasan because he allegedly posted online messages sympathetic toward suicide bombers.
But, according to the AP, investigators have not determined for certain that Hasan authored the post; the investigation is still ongoing.
West called on the military to create ways "to prevent Islamic extremism from penetrating our bases."
West said "it is imperative that we take steps to make sure this does not happen again" and that it is important to "objectively assess this situation."