(Newsroom America) -- Concern over political correctness prevented the FBI from taking more aggressive action against an Army psychologist accused of killing 13 people at Fort Hood, Texas, in 2009, despite warning signs he was associated with Islamic extremism and was bent on killing civilians.
The charge comes from a Republican lawmaker briefed on a new report about the attack, which said the officer, Maj. Nidal Hasan, had been in contact with known terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki, and that he had expressed interest in suicide bombings and the murder of civilians.
Rep. Michael McCaul, in an interview with The Associated Press, said he had been briefed on new findings about the attack from a review conducted by former FBI Director William Webster.
FBI Director Robert Mueller asked Webster to conduct the independent review, an unclassified version of which is expected to be released next week, AP reported.
Much of what happened leading up to the terrorist attack at the sprawling Texas U.S. Army post had already been released to the public. In the weeks following the attack, reports said a pair of FBI agents who were members of the agency's anti-terrorist task forces had seen emails between Hasan and al-Awlaki starting in December 2008.
The agents examined the emails but decided the content was in keeping with research Hasan said he was conducting at the time. As a result, no investigation was launched.
Hasan was reportedly writing a research paper on the affects of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.
However, McCaul said Webster's review contained new details about the FBI, in that the agents were concerned about the appearance of investigating an American Muslim in the military, which is why, in part, a formal investigation was never launched.
FBI agents in San Diego had been investigating al-Awlaki, a former San Diego resident, for his potential ties to the 9/11 attacks, when the came across emails between him and Hasan.
The San Diego FBI office contacted the Washington office and asked if officials there would talk to Hasan's commanders, the AP reported, quoting information provided by a government official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
However, the Washington-based agents were sensitive to investigating an American Muslim in the military and therefore did not reach out to his commanders at the Defense Department, Webster's review said.
"It shows you the length of the political correctness stuff going on," said McCaul Wednesday, after he was briefed on the findings of Webster's review.
Since the shootings, the FBI and Defense Department say they have made several policy changes to help prevent similar incidents in the future.
Implicated in other terrorist attacks, al-Awlaki was killed by a U.S. drone strike in Yemen in the fall of 2011.
Hasan has been charged with killing 13 people, mostly soldiers, and wounding 32 others. He is facing trial in a military court.
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