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Iraq veteran’s attack at base echoed rampage in 2009

KILLEEN, Texas — In the aftermath of a deadly rampage at Fort Hood here in November 2009 that left 13 people dead, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates announced a Pentagon review of the shooting to help ensure, he said, that “‘nothing like this ever happens again.”

Nearly five years later, it did, in eerily similar fashion.

On Wednesday, when a troubled Iraq war veteran — Spc. Ivan Antonio Lopez, 34 — shot and killed three people and wounded 16 others before taking his own life at Fort Hood, he did so in Army uniform after sneaking a high-powered handgun onto the base, just as the 2009 gunman had done. Lopez bought his gun at the same shop near the base where the 2009 gunman, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, bought his weapon. Each shooting started in a medical support area for troops, and each ended when the gunman confronted a female police officer rushing to the scene.

There was also a fundamental difference: Officials say there is no indication that Lopez committed an act of terrorism as Hasan did.

But the replay of a mass shooting at Fort Hood, particularly coming on the heels of the shooting spree in September that left 12 people dead at the Washington Navy Yard, raised questions about what lessons Army officials had learned from 2009; how effectively military installations can keep out guns; and how prepared they are to deal with threats from within, including from soldiers or contractors intent on doing harm to others on the base.

At Fort Hood, which sprawls for 340 square miles over the Texas prairie, Lopez was being treated for behavioral and mental health issues. To enter the base, he would have undergone no security screening beyond showing his identification and would have passed through no metal detectors.

Personnel are not allowed to carry concealed weapons on military bases. Soldiers on post must register their firearms, which Army officials said Lopez failed to do with the handgun he used in the attack.

Fort Hood’s rules for soldiers who are not police officers rely in large part on the honor system, and require all personnel bringing a privately owned firearm onto the base in a vehicle to declare that they are doing so and state why.

“Fort Hood is a big installation,” the base’s commanding general, Lt. Gen. Mark A. Milley, told reporters Thursday. “We’ve got a population well over 100,000 here. It would not be realistic to do a pat-down search on every single soldier and employee on Fort Hood for a weapon on a daily basis.”

—Manny Fernandez, Serge F. Kovaleski and Eric Schmitt, The New York Times

Economist to resign from Fed board to return to Harvard

WASHINGTON — Jeremy C. Stein, a member of the Federal Reserve’s board who has raised concerns about its stimulus campaign, will resign at the end of May and return to his previous role at Harvard.

Stein, who joined the Fed in 2012, needed to return within two years to preserve his tenured professorship.

“During my time here, the economy has moved steadily back in the direction of full employment, and a number of important steps have been taken to make the financial system stronger and more resilient,” Stein wrote in a letter informing President Barack Obama of his resignation, which was released Thursday by the Fed.

He added, “There is undoubtedly more work to be done on both dimensions.”

Stein, an economist and noted academic, has helped to provide an intellectual rationale for the cautious evolution of the Fed’s stimulus campaign, which has not succeeded in returning either unemployment or inflation to normal levels.

—Binyamin Appelbaum, The New York Times