WASHINGTON—Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joseph Lieberman, ID-Conn., and Ranking Member Susan Collins, R-Me., were briefed by Department of Defense (DOD) officials Tuesday on U.S. Army personnel policies and information sharing procedures as part of the Committee’s investigation into the circumstances surrounding the Fort Hood shootings.

            The Senators said they expected briefings in the near future from the Department of Justice and the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force.

            “I appreciate the briefings DOD has provided so far to advance our investigation,” Lieberman said. “Today’s briefing was fruitful. We have received valuable information about DOD procedures as they apply to the Fort Hood incident, although we would much prefer it if DOD would provide witnesses in open hearings so the American people could learn in a public forum what led to the Fort Hood attack.

            “The Administration has taken its time in responding to our requests for documents and witnesses but is moving in the right direction,” Lieberman continued. “This is a classic struggle between the executive and legislative branches. Congress’ interests do not coincide with the Administration’s in this case. But we in Congress have a responsibility to carry out this investigation.

            “We are clearly facing an increased threat of homegrown terrorism – that is, U.S. citizens and others in America becoming radicalized here at home and plotting attacks both domestically and abroad.  In the latest example, five American citizens apparently looking to carry out jihad were detained in Pakistan just last week.  The U.S. government needs to counter this threat of self-radicalization and homegrown terrorism aggressively, and I am committed to developing concrete recommendations for doing so.”

             “Today’s briefing was very helpful in exploring the impact that information sharing restrictions and outdated DOD personnel policies may have played in the government’s failure to prevent the attack at Fort Hood,” said Collins.

            “I would be remiss, however, if I did not express my disappointment with the Administration’s slow-walking of the Committee’s investigation.  The Department of Defense has been instructed to fully cooperate with the Administration’s internal reviews.  They have made witnesses and documents available to those investigators.  According to the briefers, the Department of Justice has not placed any restrictions on cooperation with these internal reviews.

            “It is high time that the Administration accord that same kind of cooperation to Congress as we carry out our constitutional responsibility to investigate whether this attack might have been prevented.  I will continue to press the Administration to make available the documents and witnesses that we need to undertake a thorough, non-partisan investigation.  We owe that transparency and accountability to the members of our military and all Americans.”

            Briefing Committee members were: Lt. General James Clapper, Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence; Karl Schneider, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs; and Army Major General Carla Hawley-Bowland, Commanding General of the North Atlantic Regional Medical Command and Walter Reed Army Medical Center.