He urges lawmakers to let Army finish its investigation first
By GARY MARTIN
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama called Saturday for a comprehensive review of the events leading to the tragedy at Fort Hood to “prevent a similar breach from happening again,” and he urged Congress to delay hearings until an investigation is complete.
“If there was a failure to take appropriate action before the shootings, there must be accountability,” Obama said during his weekly radio address.
Obama paid tribute at a Fort Hood ceremony last week for the soldiers and civilians killed Nov. 5 when a gunman opened fire on the base, killing 13 people. Dozens were wounded.
Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, 39, has been charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder. Hasan suffered wounds and is being treated at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio.
“It’s unthinkable that so many would die in a hail of gunfire on a U.S. Army base in the heart of Texas, and that a fellow service-member could have pulled the trigger,” Obama said.
Obama’s call for a thorough investigation comes as Congress prepares to launch hearings into the tragedy. Sen. Joe Lieberman, the Connecticut independent who chairs the Senate Homeland Security Committee, will preside over the first hearing next week.
The House Armed Services Committee also has announced it will holding hearings, but Rep. Solomon Ortiz, D-Corpus Christi, a ranking Democrat on the panel, said the review would come later.
An Austin lawmaker, Rep. Michael McCaul, a Republican, is asking the House Homeland Security Committee to hold hearings to investigate any possible ties that Hasan may have had with terrorist groups.