By any reasonable definition, Maj Nidal Hasan’s 2009 rampage at Fort Hood, Texas was a terrorist attack. He proudly admits that he killed in the service of the Taliban, and witnesses say that he shouted “Allahu Ackbar!” as he fired. The Obama government, though, continues to insist that Hasan’s attack constitutes “workplace violence.”

Mother Jones has an article up today that details just how absurd that characterization is. The article is based on an FBI report on the shooting that was quietly released, after the agency had blocked Sen. Joe Lieberman from making public Hasan’s emails to al Qaeda cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.

The article then goes into how early Hasan popped up on the FBI’s radar after he first contacted Awlaki — December 2008. In Hasan’s intercepted emails to the radical cleric, he asks for justification for killing civilians.

Hasan kept writing Awlaki. Between January and May 2009, he sent the radical cleric more than a dozen emails, and received two relatively benign responses. In one message, ostensibly about Palestinians firing unguided rockets into Israel, Hasan asked Awlaki whether “indiscriminately killing civilians” was acceptable. Two days later, he sent another message answering his own question: “Hamas and the Muslims hate to hurt the innocent but they have no choice if their going to have a chance to survive, flourish, and deter the zionist enemy. The recompense for an evil is an evil.” (Hasan’s emails contained a number of typos.) The San Diego field office intercepted these missives, too. But the database where the FBI stored intercepted emails didn’t automatically link messages from the same sender, so the staff didn’t realize that Hasan’s early 2009 emails were from the person who had set off alarms the previous December.

There is nothing benign about a US military commissioned officer emailing a radical Islamist cleric seeking advice on mass murder. But that’s how the FBI publicly characterized the Hasan emails. He “slipped through the cracks,” killing 13 and wounding more than 30.

There is also nothing in the Hasan record that suggests ordinary “workplace violence.” “Workplace violence” is typically perpetrated by frustrated workers denied a promotion, a jilted lover, or other ordinary dispute that turns violent. The FBI’s own report on Hasan gives his motivation away in its first chapter, titled “Violent Radicalization.” That’s no more “workplace violence” than the Boston bombing was a pressure cooker demonstration.

Yet the Obama government still insists that Nidal Hasan was not a terrorist. That characterization constitutes an ongoing lie.