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FBI Briefs Pelosi, Panel Leaders on Fort Hood Tragedy

House Republicans from three key committees with jurisdiction over national security issues said Democratic chairmen were continuing to block Congressional investigations into the shootings at the Fort Hood military base despite assurances by federal investigators during a briefing of top committee leaders Tuesday morning that they could proceed.The FBI briefed chairmen and ranking members from the House Homeland Security, Intelligence, Appropriations and Armed Services committees as well as Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on the circumstances surrounding the violent rampage at Fort Hood, Texas, according to sources familiar with the briefing. Reps. Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.) and Peter King (R-N.Y.), ranking members of the Intelligence and Homeland Security committees, respectively, said FBI briefers told Members that the FBI would support Congressional investigations into the incident. “I specifically asked the question, ‘Will you support Congressional hearings? Will you support immediate Congressional hearings?’ and the answer that I heard was ‘yes,’— Hoekstra said. “But the briefers did not indicate that they wanted us to wait for an indefinite period of time.—King added, “I heard that too. The chairmen of the committees, though, were saying that we should not do anything until the [administration’s] investigation is fully completed.—On Nov. 5, a gunman opened fire on unarmed American soldiers at the military base, leaving 13 dead and dozens more injured. Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, a military psychiatrist, has been charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder. The Obama administration has urged Congressional leaders to wait until the military investigators have a chance to finish their jobs before launching probes of the tragedy. Republicans argued Congress had a constitutional obligation to act immediately and start its own investigation into how the intelligence communities need to evolve in order to prevent another tragedy from occurring in the future.“We need a full investigation as to what happened, the kind of changes that we might propose and then to move forward with those changes [and make them] law,— Hoekstra said. Hoekstra said Republican members of the Intelligence Committee wrote a letter to Pelosi on Tuesday and asked her to instruct Chairman Silvestre Reyes (D-Texas) to schedule hearings on the tragedy. Reyes rejected the idea that he and his fellow Democratic chairmen were blocking the effort and said Congress should wait until the facts are in before it chooses a course of action. “There were comments made by some of the Republicans that we ought to be looking at legislation,— Reyes told reporters Tuesday. “I thought it was way premature to be looking at emergency hearings, changes to legislation [or] new legislation. I think the more prudent thing to do is to wait until all the facts are in and then look and evaluate exactly what happened and if there is some need for hearings.— Hoekstra and Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) hinted that the Obama administration had removed critical “tools and methods— that could be used by the intelligence community to help prevent future incidents like the shootings at Fort Hood. Both lawmakers declined to comment when asked repeatedly by reporters to identify what specific tools or methods they were referring to. “There were tools that had been available that are no longer available,— Hoekstra said. Asked about their comments, Reyes said, “I have no idea and there was no mention of any tool, methods or restrictions at the briefing this morning.—He added: “I don’t know what the Republicans are talking about. Often they talk about things that never happened.—

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