Lieberman, Collins may soon wrap up Fort Hood investigation

The fight between the Senate and the Obama administration over who has access to information on the November 2009 shooting massacre at Fort Hood, Texas, is likely to end this fall one way or another, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) said last week.

“We may decide soon that we’re ready to write a report [on the shooting], in which case possibly we’d issue it sometime in September,” Lieberman said.

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Lieberman, chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said the Department of Defense has complied with his panel’s investigation just enough to avoid subpoenas. Lieberman said his investigation could drag on past September if the committee decides the Pentagon isn’t adequately cooperating.

Lieberman and Sen. Susan Collins (Maine), the accountability committee’s ranking Republican, are investigating the Nov. 5, 2009, shooting at Fort Hood that left 13 people dead and 30 wounded. Military prosecutors have charged Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan with 13 counts of premeditated murder in the incident.

Lieberman and Collins subpoenaed Attorney General Eric Holder and Defense Secretary Robert Gates in April, seeking more information about the Fort Hood investigation. In May, the two senators said they were leaning toward taking the administration to court to enforce the subpoenas.

Since then, Lieberman said the administration has been more forthcoming with information.

“We’re making progress in the sense that they’ve turned more documents over, and we’ve found a way, I think, to try to get testimony from some of the people involved,” Lieberman said. “So far we haven’t felt the need to enforce the subpoenas.”


Collins said progress on the case has been steady behind closed doors, but said she and Lieberman are “still fighting” the administration.

“It’s still possible that we’re going to have to enforce the subpoenas that we’ve issued,” she said.

Lieberman has called the Fort Hood attack an act of terrorism and wants access to investigators as well as Hasan’s personnel file to determine if the shootings could have been prevented. The administration has resisted those requests on the grounds that the investigation could be compromised.

Lieberman said he and Collins might simply issue a joint statement on the shooting, since they have been the only two senators on the committee deeply involved in the case. That arrangement would remove the need for a full committee vote on the matter, unless legislation is necessary.