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Gates orders Fort Hood inquiry

WASHINGTON – A wide-ranging review ordered Thursday by Defense Secretary Robert Gates will strive to answer what he called “troubling questions” raised by the shootings at Fort Hood.

The Pentagon inquiry will be conducted alongside a governmentwide review ordered by President Barack Obama to examine the intelligence failures before the Nov. 5 rampage. Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, a psychiatrist, stands accused of killing 13 people in the attack.

Gates expressed horror at the attack, saying there was little the department could do to ease the pain of the family members of those killed.

“All that is left for us to do is do everything in our power to prevent similar tragedies from occurring in the future,” Gates said.

The announcement of the Pentagon review came as the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee began its own probe into whether intelligence, military and law enforcement officials missed important clues in detecting Hasan as a threat.

Hasan had received repeated warnings about his poor work at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where he was a psychiatrist. He was also admonished for proselytizing after pressing others to accept his view of Islam.

In the aftermath of the shootings, former co-workers and documents have suggested that Hasan had evolved into a personally troubled and radical Islamic extremist who investigators knew was in e-mail contact with a radical American-Yemeni cleric.