Senators: Army needs better info about soldiers

Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., and ranking member Susan Collins, R-Maine, on Tuesday said the Army needs to update its regulations governing the collection and sharing of personnel information, a conclusion they reached after a classified briefing with senior Defense Department officials about last month's shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Texas.

Lieberman and Collins said the Army appeared to have insufficient information sharing practices concerning Army Maj. Nidal Hasan, who has been charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder in the Nov. 5 killings.

Lieberman said it is time for the Army to upgrade its personnel policies, but added the military must do so in a sensitive way so as to not drive out Islamic soldiers. Army personnel regulations have not been updated since the Cold War, he added.

Collins said the military has policies in place to help detect personnel who might hold white supremacist views. But she said the policies are inadequate for rooting out personnel who subscribe to radical Islamic ideology.

Both senators said they expect a briefing later this week on what might have gone wrong with information sharing about Hasan among officials with the Justice Department's Joint Terrorism Task Force, which is responsible for coordinating the flow of intelligence for dozens of agencies.

While the Army had collected information on Hasan that was passed to the task force, task force personnel determined it did not rise to the level of a threat.

Lieberman said the key questions he wants answered include what was the quality of the judgment made inside the task force, what kind of information sharing occurred between the task force and the Army, and what would have been learned if more information was shared.

But Lieberman and Collins also expressed frustration that the Obama administration has been slow to brief their committee on the investigation into the shooting, and slow to make administration witnesses available to their staff for interviews.

Collins said the administration appears to be "slow walking" the incident when it comes to keeping Congress informed. But Lieberman said an agreement apparently has been reached with the administration to interview officials.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    Download
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download
  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.