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WASHINGTON - FBI agents on a joint terrorism task force failed to heed signs of Muslim radicalization before Army Maj. Nidal Hasan went on a Fort Hood shooting rampage that left 13 soldiers dead, according to two-year review released Thursday.
Former FBI Director William Webster concluded that the mistakes made by the FBI agents were not intentional and that those agents should not be held responsible or punished for failing to prevent the November 2009 tragedy.
Instead, the report offers 18 formal recommendations to improve and detect terrorist threats, according to Webster, who conducted the review.
"We have not hesitated to identify shortcomings when we found them," Webster said. "We do not find, and do not believe, that anyone is solely responsible for mistakes in handling the information."
Specifically, the report found that FBI agents failed to launch an investigation into Hasan despite email contacts he made with known terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen prior to the Fort Hood attacks.
Hasan is accused of firing two pistols at soldiers preparing to deploy to Afghanistan. Hasan was felled by bullets fired by military police.
The FBI released the 173-page, heavily redacted copy of the review late Thursday. A classified version of the report was given to FBI Director Robert Mueller on July 12.
Mueller sought the independent review in the wake of congressional criticism following the shooting, and an internal investigation conducted by the FBI.
"We constantly strive to improve our policies and procedures, and I appreciate the final report's acknowledgment of the actions that the FBI has taken since the shootings," Mueller said.
Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn applauded the FBI for releasing an unclassified version.
"The American people need to know we are doing everything possible to make sure something like this terrible tragedy doesn't occur again," Cornyn said.
Hasan faces a military trial Aug. 20 on 13 charges of premeditated murder and 32 charges of attempted premeditated murder for the November 2009 Fort Hood rampage.
An Army psychiatrist, Hasan is paralyzed from the 2009 shooting and is in jail awaiting the court-martial. He faces the death penalty.
The review found that FBI agents on the San Diego Joint Terrorism Task Force were aware that Hasan had contacted al-Awlaki numerous times before the shooting spree and discussed the killing of civilians, but failed to bring that information to the attention of the Department of Defense.
In one email, Hasan discussed suicide bombers, and whether it is permissible for "the killing of innocents for a valuable target."
But an FBI field office in Washington determined that Hasan, an American-born Muslim who served at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, was not involved in terrorist activities, according to the review.
The agents did not interview Hasan, who had good performance reviews, or co-workers or supervisors who were aware of his growing radicalization.
Although San Diego agents said the assessment by Washington agents was inadequate, neither FBI office took further action and Hasan was transferred to Fort Hood, where he was scheduled to be deployed to Afghanistan in November 2009.
"Their assessment of Hasan was belated, incomplete and rushed, primarily because of their workload," the review states.
According to the review, Hasan, who had 15 years of military service, arrived at the deployment center on Nov. 5, 2009, and opened fire, shouting "God is Great" in Arabic.
Webster concluded that the mistakes were unintentional, and that FBI agents "need better policy guidance to know what is expected of them in performing their duties."
The review contains 18 recommendations that include new training procedures, a review of protocols of operations and information systems as well as corrective measures to enhance investigative techniques and reporting.
A Pentagon review of the Fort Hood events immediately after the shooting led to new reporting rules to be implemented to prevent attacks from occurring again on military installations.
The terrorist al-Awlaki was an American Muslim from New Mexico, who later moved to Yemen and became an al-Qaida operative.
He was killed in 2011 in a U.S.-launched drone strike.