Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) is blasting President Obama for withholding from the Congressional intelligence committees information on the Fort Hood killings suspect, while at the same time acknowledging the leaders of those panels — including Hoekstra himself — have indeed been briefed on Nidal Malik Hasan.
“President Obama said people should not jump to conclusions about what happened at Fort Hood, but the administration is in possession of critical information related to the attack that they are refusing to release to Congress or the American people,” Hoekstra said in a statement.
Hoekstra’s beef is not that the Obama Administration, including the CIA, haven’t released any information. Rather, he’s upset that only the Gang of Eight, not the full intelligence committees, have been briefed — and that the information released has been “limited.”
The Gang of Eight, made up of the GOP and Dem leaders of both houses of Congress along with the chairs and ranking members of the House and Senate intel committees, is provided with information deemed particularly sensitive by the executive branch. Hoekstra is the ranking member of the House panel.
Hoekstra’s statement says:
Hoekstra said he was concerned that more information had been provided, piecemeal, to the news media by anonymous sources than had yet been provided to the Committee. He criticized the Obama administration for not being more immediately forthcoming with details and specifically requested information, and for restricting the limited information provided so far to the so-called “Gang of Eight.”
Earlier today, ABC News quoted a senior lawmaker, later revealed to be Hoekstra, claiming that “the CIA had, so far, refused to brief the intelligence committees on what, if any, knowledge they had about Hasan’s efforts” to attempt to contact unspecified people associated with al Qaeda. The CIA responded by denying it had refused to brief Congress.
Jamal Ware, a spokesman for Hoekstra, told TPMmuckraker that the congressman’s concerns are not centered on the CIA. “We’re not suggesting that CIA is the beginning or the end of this in any shape or form,” Ware says. “Congressman Hoekstra believes the committee has a process to go through here — to see what the intelligence agencies, plural, had relative to this threat, and what they did with the information that was in their possession.”
In a Nov. 7 letter to the Director of National Intelligence, the FBI, CIA, and NSA, Hoekstra requested the agencies issue a preservation order to protect any documents that might relate to the Fort Hood case.
Echoing ABC’s report, Hoekstra also says he “been made aware of information from the intelligence community that suggests the possibility that serious issues exist with respect to the performance of U.S. intelligence agencies” in the Fort Hood case.