Washington, D.C. – Today, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) released the following statement on the committee’s oversight plans regarding investigations related to the November 5 shootings at Fort Hood:


            “Like all Americans, members of the House Armed Services Committee were shocked and outraged by the senseless violence at Fort Hood that stole the lives of 13 people and shattered the lives of so many others.  All of us are anxious to get to the bottom of this incident and do what needs to be done to make it impossible for such a crime to ever be repeated.


“Since these tragic shootings occurred, members of the House Armed Services Committee and committee staff have received briefings from administration officials on the ongoing investigations, of which there are many. 


“As a former prosecuting attorney, I am keenly aware that a simultaneous Congressional investigation might inadvertently interfere with these ongoing investigations and potentially thwart the effort to obtain justice through a criminal conviction.  Hindering the criminal investigation and potential prosecution is the last thing anyone in Congress would want to do. 


“My concerns were reinforced by a letter I recently received from the Department of Defense raising very serious and legitimate concerns and requesting that Congressional committees wait until the DOD review is complete before conducting any public hearings on Fort Hood-related matters that will involve DOD witnesses. 


“While the House Armed Services Committee will continue to assert its oversight role by seeking information from the administration that will not impact the ongoing criminal investigation, I intend to refrain from scheduling public hearings until after the DOD review is complete.  We expect to hold hearings once the reviews are completed, hopefully as soon as January. In preparation for that event, the committee will hold a series of closed briefings to educate members on various educational, promotion, and oversight systems. Depending on the outcome of the reviews and what is learned through the Congressional oversight process, there may be legislative proposals for Congress to consider next year.


“I believe it is important for the House Armed Services Committee to act at the proper time in a constructive and responsible way, and not get ahead of the Fort Hood shooting investigations.  We must do our part to ensure that justice is served for all those who were touched by this tragedy.”