Lawmakers call on FBI director to release unclassified version of independent review of Fort Hood massacre

Texas Senator John Cornyn calls for release of report


Two senior Republican lawmakers are calling on the FBI director to immediately release an unclassified version of the independent review of the Fort Hood massacre, Fox News has confirmed, with one expressing concern the release could be pushed off until after the election.

In a letter to FBI Director Robert Mueller Friday, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said the American public, and especially the Fort Hood military community, have a right to know the substance of the report’s findings.

"This report is a matter of tremendous public importance, and I call on you to release an unclassified version of it as soon as possible,"  Cornyn wrote. "In doing so, I urge you to personally ensure that the contents of the report are not unnecessarily classified to shield their public release, because such action would come directly at the expense of transparency and accountability."

Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., will be briefed as early as Monday on the independent report by former CIA and former FBI director, Judge William Webster. The report examines the bureau’s failures leading up to and its response after the Fort Hood massacre.  Wolf, whose appropriations committee has oversight of the FBI,  told Fox News he would not allow the Obama administration to delay the public release of Webster’s findings.

"I worry that they are trying to stonewall this thing and drag it out so it doesn't come out until after the elections,” Wolf told Fox News. “There are American men and women whose lives are at risk."

Webster and his team had access to more than 10,000 pages of documents, and more than 50 formal interviews and briefings, as well as direct access to the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Forces. Those "JTTFs" handled the investigation of Maj. Nidal Hasan who is accused of launching the worst act of terrorism on U.S. soil since 9/11.

According to a July 3 letter from Judge Webster, obtained by Fox News, “The Final Report will exceed 150 single-spaced pages in length and include eighteen (18) formal recommendations for corrective and enhancing measures on matters ranging from FBI policies and operations to information systems infrastructure, review protocols and training."

Coming a decade after 9/11, the Webster report will be seen as a pivotal assessment of whether the FBI has successfully made the transition from a case-driven, law enforcement culture to an intelligence-driven culture which effectively shares that intelligence with other agencies. 

In the case of Fort Hood, Army investigators never knew that the FBI had emails between Hasan and Anwar al-Awlaki, a known radical who was killed by the CIA in September 2011.

An FBI spokesman says a public version of the Webster report could take several weeks to release, adding that other members of the intelligence community must review the findings first.

A five month investigation of the Fort Hood massacre, “Fox Files: the Enemy Within,” found that the radical American cleric in Yemen used more than 60 email addresses to communicate with his followers, including Hasan, while under FBI surveillance in 2008 and 2009.

First broadcast in June, Fox Files will air Sunday at 9 p.m. ET and midnight with new information on the case

Catherine Herridge is an award-winning Chief Intelligence correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC) based in Washington, D.C. She covers intelligence, the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security. Herridge joined FNC in 1996 as a London-based correspondent.