On Monday's Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann, presumably picking up on a posting by the far left ThinkProgress.org -- one of his regular sources of information to attack conservatives -- made the arguably inaccurate claim that FNC political analyst Bill Kristol had on the Thursday, November 12, Special Report with Bret Baier on FNC, called for Fort Hood gunman Nidal Hasan to be convicted and executed without trial. After calling the FNC analyst's words "anti-American," and quoting a portion of Kristol's words, Olbermann lectured:
But seriously, the men and women that this man killed – however you define him – those men and women of the U.S. military, Mr. Kristol, were fighting for the right to trial, due process, justice. Thanks for spitting on the dead of Fort Hood, William Kristol, today’s “Worst Person in the World.”
But a trial is where a criminal normally is "convicted," so the fact that Kristol argued that "they should just go ahead and convict him and put him to death," does not necessarily mean that he was suggesting skipping the trial phase. Additionally, the purpose of Kristol's comment about convicting Hasan was to point out that that part of the process should be a straightforward open-and-shut case since there is so much evidence of his guilt, as the FNC analyst was complaining that Homeland Security Chief Janet Napolitano made a statement about exacting justice on Hasan being her "number one issue." Napolitano: "And the number one issue, I think right now, is that Major Hasan be brought to justice."
Kristol thought that her highest priority at present should be to determine why the military had ignored suspicious behavior by Hasan so that in future these kinds of attacks within the military might be minimized. Kristol:
The number one, if you’re the head of Homeland Security, shouldn't you say the number one priority is figuring out what went wrong? This is what is most disturbing about this. What is disturbing is that it happened, and there were huge failures, I think, within the Army and the intelligence community connecting the dots.
But Olbermann omitted Kristol's reasons for disagreeing with Napolitano's statement -- as did the posting at ThinkProgress.com -- and went on to attack Kristol.
Notably, just last Wednesday, Olbermann included FNC's Bill O'Reilly in Countdown's "Worst Person" segment after O'Reilly argued on his November The O'Reilly Factor show that the Fort Hood massacre should be called "terrorism," although part of Olbermann's complaint was that O'Reilly had jokingly claimed that he had the right to decide whether the event should be called a terrorist act because the popularity of his show on FNC gives him the right. Olbermann:
Our runner-up, Billow: He’s back in fine delusion of grandeur form, having decided that Fort Hood was terrorism. Now, I could read this in the Ted Baxter voice, but then you’d get the impression that O’Reilly was kidding here or being self-deprecating. Nuh-uh.
After showing a clip of O'Reilly and FNC political analyst Alan Colmes in which O'Reilly glibly commented that "I have the highest rated show, Colmes, so ... I can decide, okay?" Olbermann continued: "So Dancing with the Stars drew nearly 16 million viewers last night – nearly three times O’Reilly’s highest rated show. Does that mean host Tom Bergeron gets three votes on the 'what actually happened' ballot?"
Below are transcripts of relevant portions of the Monday, November 16 Countdown show on MSNBC, the Wednesday, November 11, Countdown, and the Thursday, November 12, Special Report with Bret Baier on FNC:
#From the Monday, November 16, Countdown:
KEITH OLBERMANN: But our winner is William Kristol. This is about Fort Hood and Major Hasan, and it is, in short, anti-American.
"I was very struck also by Janet Napolitano's comment. I hadn’t read it before to see her say that, that the number one priority is to bring him to justice is such a knee-jerk comment and such a stupid comment. He’s going to be brought to justice. He’s not going to be innocent of murder. There are a lot of eyewitnesses to that. They should just go ahead and convict him and put him to death."
Firstly, Bill, if this is the new rule, please report to Leavenworth in the morning. You are guilty of 931 counts of federal felony factual mistakes. But seriously, the men and women that this man killed – however you define him – those men and women of the U.S. military, Mr. Kristol, were fighting for the right to trial, due process, justice. Thanks for spitting on the dead of Fort Hood, William Kristol, today’s “Worst Person in the World."
#From the Wednesday, November 11, Countdown:
KEITH OLBERMANN: Our runner-up, Billow: He’s back in fine delusion of grandeur form, having decided that Fort Hood was terrorism. Now, I could read this in the Ted Baxter voice, but then you’d get the impression that O’Reilly was kidding here or being self-deprecating. Nuh-uh.
ALAN COLMES: “-facts before we decide, okay, it’s terrorism."
BILL O’REILLY: Okay, I’ve decided it’s an act of terror because-"
COLMES: Well, okay, you’ve decided.
O’REILLY: Yeah. I have the highest rated show, Colmes, so I can [UNINTELLIGIBLE], I can decide, okay?
COLMES: Excuse me, that makes you the authority on defining things. I understand.
OLBERMANN: Yeah, he’s not kidding, is he? So Dancing with the Stars drew nearly 16 million viewers last night – nearly three times O’Reilly’s highest rated show. Does that mean host Tom Bergeron gets three votes on the “what actually happened” ballot? And what happened to, “We report, you decide”? They don’t mean you, Billy.
#From the Thursday, November 12, Special Report with Bret Baier on FNC, "Fox All Stars" segment:
CHRIS GREY, ARMY CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION DIVISION: U.S. Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan, a 39-year-old psychiatrist assigned to Darnell Medical Center here at Fort Hood, has been charged with 13 specifications of premeditated murder under article 118 of the uniform code of military justice.
JANET NAPOLITANO, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: This is a matter under investigation. It's going to be looked at, obviously, very, very fully. And the number one issue, I think right now, is that Major Hasan be brought to justice.
BAIER: Well, it's official. Major Nidal Hasan has been charged, and now he will face a military trial on these charges. In addition to this, a new discovery. Today, officials coming out with this business card that was found inside his apartment, boxes of these business cards that he had made. There you see it there. No mention of his military affiliation with the U.S. Army, but underneath his name, you can see SOA and then SWT. SOA is commonly used on jihadist Web sites as the acronym for "Soldier of Allah." SWT is commonly used, we're told, as an acronym for "Glory to God." Again, no mention of the U.S. Army on that card.
We are here to analyze the investigation and where it’s heading from here. Let's bring in our panel, Bill Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard, Mort Kondracke, executive editor of Roll Call, and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer. Charles, in addition to that, ABC News is reporting that he used numerous names, e-mails, to get onto jihadist Web sites and had contact with other jihadists even in Europe outside of this one radical imam in Yemen that we’ve reported on.
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Look, this is the kind of evidence you’d expect from someone who was reported at the time of the shooting to have been shouting out "Allah Akbar," which is the battle cry of jihadism. I mean, this is not a surprise. The amazing part is in the business card. Here’s a man whose entire adult life essentially, or professional life has been spent in the U.S. Army. This is a business card. There’s no mention whatsoever of the U.S. Army, but he says himself, in the business card – imagine, it is a card. It is not just something in his head. It’s something he presumably wants to hand out, "Soldier of Allah." I mean, if that’s not slam-dunk evidence of what he thought of himself, then nothing is.
This, remember, comes after days and days of the media trying to avoid any implication that there was any connection between his Islamist beliefs, which many of which he expressed to colleagues and in lectures, and his actions. I mean, what we heard about was secondary post-traumatic stress disorder, a disorder which incidentally doesn't exist. If you look in the DSM IV, which is the current statistical manual of the American Psychiatric Association, it isn't in there.
And those who do believe it exists have a synonym, "compassion fatigue." Imagine. What we're say, something this is a guy who killed 13 people cruelly. He pursued the wounded to finish them off. And the cause, excess of sentiment and compassion. If we can't speak clearly in moral terms about this kind of absolute evil, then we are in trouble.
MORT KONDRACKE, ROLL CALL: You know, with all due respect to Secretary Napolitano, the number one issue here is not to bring this guy to justice. The number one issue here is to find out, and even the President said that they're going to conduct an extensive investigation and so is Joe Lieberman on the Homeland Security Committee in the Senate, of why weren't the dots connected here?
I mean, his colleagues at Walter Reed knew that he was uttering this wild jihadist stuff, that he was also, by the way, incompetent and belligerent. We had evidence -- the NSA undoubtedly had intercepts of his contacts with various jihadists. And there was even a Defense Department analyst who tracked all this stuff, his connections with Al Alwaki. So why wasn't something done?
I mean, 100 years ago when I was in the Army Counterintelligence Corps, there was a category of people called "disaffected," and we conducted security investigations on these people. This guy was totally disaffected and blatantly disaffected, and why he wasn't closely monitored is the question.
BILL KRISTOL, WEEKLY STANDARD: I guess parts of the Army are not on war footing, they’re on diversity footing here at home, maybe especially in the medical services profession, especially not on the front lines.
I was very struck also by Janet Napolitano's comment. I hadn’t read it before. To see her say that, that the number one priority is bringing him to justice is such a knee-jerk comment and such a stupid comment. He’s going to be brought to justice. He’s not going to be innocent of murder. [STARTS LAUGHING] They’ve got a lot of eyewitnesses to that. They should just go ahead and convict him and put him to death.
But Mort is absolutely right. The number one, if you’re the head of Homeland Security, shouldn't you say the number one priority is figuring out what went wrong? This is what is most disturbing about this. What is disturbing is that it happened, and there were huge failures, I think, within the Army and the intelligence community connecting the dots. We know that. This Al Alwaki, the cleric, he's not just a radical cleric. He’s an Al Qaeda cleric. And that connection alone is just a huge alarm bell that should have gone off.
But what has happened since the killing, that’s what, in a way, has me most upset. The FBI director says, oh, right away, no terrorist connections without thinking really about a terrorist connection. Then they had these business cards, presumably, with these "Soldier of Allah," "Slave of Allah," I guess it is, acronym on it, General Casey goes on TV, the Army chief of staff, Sunday, diversity can't be a casualty of this. And now we have the Homeland Security Secretary saying, well, we have to bring people to justice. Are we still not going to be serious about dealing with jihadists in the U.S., in the Army who are killing soldiers at a base here in the United States?
BAIER: So is there a point where this evidence adds up and it’s a tipping point and somebody starts talking about terrorism?
KRISTOL: Yeah, I think so.
BAIER: From the administration, not from, you know, the commentators or the news people, but from the administration?
KRISTOL: And we don't know everything yet. I mean, there were multiple e-mail accounts, some which seem to have been disguised. He had a shredder in his apartment which shredded stuff and it apparently was emptied out before people got there. That's why they're searching through these garbage cans and dumps, you know, elsewhere in Killeen near fort hood. I mean, we don't know what the terror connections were. At best, he’s a lone, you know, a lone terrorist with connections with jihadists, which is itself a huge problem. At worst, there actually were much more serious connections with people abroad and elsewhere in the U.S.
KRAUTHAMMER: I think it’s worse if he acted alone, because if there are connections, then you have people, sort of agents of those abroad. We have been rather good since 9/11 at having prevented outsiders from infiltrating, but the idea of somebody who grows up here and who, on his own, becomes a jihadist with the sort of spiritual or intellectual influence of outsiders. He’s not a directive, he’s not hired he’s not owned.
He’s not an agent but he acts as a self-agent on behalf of jihadism, that is harder to find, and it’s harder to go after because, as happened at Walter Reed, people will be worried about if you questioned this guy, and it was a question among all the psychiatrists, is he a nut, is he a terrorist? They didn't want to raise it. Why? Because you would be accused of prejudiced against him on the account of religion.
KONDRACKE: There’s a, you know, the STRATFOR, which is a private intelligence gathering operation, had an e-mail that got sent out about another Yemeni terrorist, the guy who’s in charge of al-Qaeda in the Arabian peninsula sent out worldwide this e-mail saying, you know, you don't have to knock down buildings, you don't have to stage spectaculars, you can engage in small attacks with knives, guns, whatever, on soft targets. And for all we know, you know, this was inspired by that.
KRISTOL: Al Alwaki was a big hero to the people who wanted to kill the soldiers at Fort Dix two or three years ago. They found all of his sermons preserved on the computers of those people. This guy, the idea, it’s one thing I agree there’s a terrible problem with self-starting jihadists who read something who get inspired and do things. He was in touch with Al Alwaki should have been such an unbelievable alarm bell, that that didn’t go off is worrisome. And then afterwards, that half the U.S. government seems to be saying, well, let's not be alarmed even though we now know that that's the case is even more worrisome.