US & Canada

Pentagon to monitor 'internal threats' after Fort Hood

Maj Nidal Hasan - 2007 file photo
Image caption Maj Hasan is alleged to have had contact with a radical Muslim cleric before the shootings

The US military has pledged that it will take steps to avoid "internal threats", in the Pentagon's final report on the Fort Hood shootings.

Maj Nidal Hasan has been charged with murdering 13 of his colleagues and attempting to murder 32 others at the army base in Texas last November.

The report recommends giving commanders access to soldiers' records and upping emergency response capabilities.

An earlier report said several officers did not properly supervise Maj Hasan.

A military court is to decide in October if the case against the psychiatrist will proceed to trial. He faces a possible death sentence if convicted.

"These initiatives will significantly improve the Department's ability to mitigate internal threats, ensure force protection, enable emergency response, and provide care for victims and families," Defence Secretary Robert Gates wrote in the introduction to the report published on Friday.

He said "every effort to safeguard civil liberties" would be made in carrying out the report's recommendations.

'Violence indicators'

But Maj Hasan's lawyer, John Galligan, said the recommendations were too vague and would threaten people's rights.

"This whole report is designed to tell people we need to start looking for internal threats, but it doesn't say what those threats are," he said.

"The idea of looking inward for threats calls into question people's privacy and constitutional rights."

The report highlights failings in medical and mental-health screening practices because they "do not provide a comprehensive assessment of violence indicators".

There is also a lack of "clarity necessary to help commanders distinguish appropriate religious practices from those that might indicate a potential for violence or self-radicalisation".

Maj Hasan is alleged to have had contact with a radical Muslim cleric in Yemen months before the shootings.

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