FBI probed 100 suspected extremists in the military

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A soldier at Joint Base Lewis-McChord conducts active shooter training mandated in the wake of the shootings at Fort Hood. (U.S. Army photo/Sgt. Christopher M. Gaylord)

NPR reports the FBI has conducted more than 100 investigations into suspected Islamic extremists within the military. About a dozen of those cases are considered serious, according to NPR, which cited unnamed officials.

The FBI and DoD say these “insider threats” include not just active and reserve military personnel but also individuals who have access to military facilities such as contractors and close family members with dependent ID cards.

Sen. Joseph Lieberman, chair of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security, would not disclose the exact number, but told NPR that it was bigger than he’d expected. Lieberman also told NPR:

“I know one can say that as a percentage of the millions of people in active military service or working with contractors, the numbers you talk about are a small percentage of the total, but the reality is it only took one man, Nidal Hasan, to kill 13 people at Fort Hood and injure a lot more.”

Maj. Nidal Hisan, a U.S. Army psychiatrist, is alleged to have killed 13 people during a 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Texas. He is now on trial.

What was the Army’s SAEDA training (PDF), now called TARP, provides indicators of insider activity and requires that such activity be reported. However, the military is exploring computer monitoring systems that probe service members’ emails or detect anomalies in their online activities.

There is also a good old-fashioned hotline for soldiers to report suspicious activity, 1–800 CALL-SPY. We called and got the answering machine.

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  1. Ok, let’s say that Soldiers were allowed to have their own weapons while in uniform on post. Do we think that the MAJ would have been able to kill so many so quickly? Or is it possible that someone would have taken him down sooner? I would wager that some lives would have been saved, but the Army wouldn’t ever let you believe that.

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