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Casey vs. Lieberman on Ft. Hood Massacre

Army Chief of Staff George Casey took to the airwaves Sunday to warn the public not to overemphasize unconfirmed reports about anti-American and religious statements allegedly made by alleged Fort Hood gunman Major Nidal Hasan. “I think we need to be very careful here about speculating based on anecdotes like that,” Casey said on ABC’s ...

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WASHINGTON - JUNE 25: U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) speaks during a news briefing with Sen. John McCain June 25, 2009 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. McCain has proposed legislation to assist the people of Iran in promoting democracy. He said he would like to increase US-backed radio broadcasts into Iran. (Photo by Chris Kleponis/Getty Images)

Army Chief of Staff George Casey took to the airwaves Sunday to warn the public not to overemphasize unconfirmed reports about anti-American and religious statements allegedly made by alleged Fort Hood gunman Major Nidal Hasan.

"I think we need to be very careful here about speculating based on anecdotes like that," Casey said on ABC's This Week, "We all want to know what happened and what motivated the suspect, but I think we need to be very, very careful here in these early days to let the investigation take its course."

He warned that any effort to prejudge Hasan as a terrorist or as having religious motivations could cause unnecessary and harmful effects for the 3,000 plus Muslims currently serving in the military.

Army Chief of Staff George Casey took to the airwaves Sunday to warn the public not to overemphasize unconfirmed reports about anti-American and religious statements allegedly made by alleged Fort Hood gunman Major Nidal Hasan.

“I think we need to be very careful here about speculating based on anecdotes like that,” Casey said on ABC’s This Week, “We all want to know what happened and what motivated the suspect, but I think we need to be very, very careful here in these early days to let the investigation take its course.”

He warned that any effort to prejudge Hasan as a terrorist or as having religious motivations could cause unnecessary and harmful effects for the 3,000 plus Muslims currently serving in the military.

“I think the speculation could potentially heighten backlash against some of our Muslim soldiers. And what happened at Fort Hood was a tragedy, but I believe it would be an even greater tragedy if our diversity becomes a casualty here,” Casey said.

Meanwhile, Senator Joseph Lieberman, I-CT, was on Fox news talking all about Hasan’s motivations and warning that the attack could be a new model of terrorism on U.S. soil.

“It’s clear that he was, one, under personal stress and, two, if the reports that we’re receiving of various statements he made, acts he took, are valid, he had turned to Islamist extremism,” Lieberman said, “And therefore, if that is true, the murder of these 13 people was a terrorist act and, in fact, it was the most destructive terrorist act to be committed on American soil since 9/11.”

Lieberman stated that the evidence was not all in, but he went on to detail each and every reported allegation of Hasan’s anti-American behavior, including reports that he compared suicide bombers to U.S. soldiers who have sacrificed their lives in war and that he shouted ‘Allah Ahkbar’ during the attack.

“The fact that he did that at the moment of these murders – if that’s confirmed, of course – raises genuine concerns that this was a terrorist act,” Lieberman said, “”There’s concern from what we know now about Hasan that, in fact, that’s exactly what he was, a self-radicalized home-grown terrorist.”

He promised to start an investigation in his Homeland Security Committee as to Hasan’s motives. The Army declined to comment Lieberman’s investigation.

Chris Kleponis/Getty Images

Josh Rogin covers national security and foreign policy and writes the daily Web column The Cable. His column appears bi-weekly in the print edition of The Washington Post. He can be reached for comments or tips at josh.rogin@foreignpolicy.com.

Previously, Josh covered defense and foreign policy as a staff writer for Congressional Quarterly, writing extensively on Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, U.S.-Asia relations, defense budgeting and appropriations, and the defense lobbying and contracting industries. Prior to that, he covered military modernization, cyber warfare, space, and missile defense for Federal Computer Week Magazine. He has also served as Pentagon Staff Reporter for the Asahi Shimbun, Japan's leading daily newspaper, in its Washington, D.C., bureau, where he reported on U.S.-Japan relations, Chinese military modernization, the North Korean nuclear crisis, and more.

A graduate of George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, Josh lived in Yokohama, Japan, and studied at Tokyo's Sophia University. He speaks conversational Japanese and has reported from the region. He has also worked at the House International Relations Committee, the Embassy of Japan, and the Brookings Institution.

Josh's reporting has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, CBS, ABC, NPR, WTOP, and several other outlets. He was a 2008-2009 National Press Foundation's Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellow, 2009 military reporting fellow with the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and the 2011 recipient of the InterAction Award for Excellence in International Reporting. He hails from Philadelphia and lives in Washington, D.C. Twitter: @joshrogin

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