FBI Director James Comey agreed at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing today that Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan was inspired by al-Qaeda.
The massacre at the Texas base is still branded an incident of “workplace violence,” despite longtime efforts within Congress to have it properly designated as a terrorist attack.
“In your opening statement you mentioned al-Qaeda-inspired terrorism and I know you’re familiar — if not specifically, generally — with the facts of the 2009 attack at Fort Hood, Texas, when Major Nidal Hasan shot and killed 13 people, injured a couple dozen plus more,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said when questioning Comey. “Do you agree with the intelligence community’s assessment that Hasan was inspired by al-Qaeda to conduct that attack?”
“Yes, sir,” Comey responded. “Based on everything I’ve read, again, I wasn’t in office at the time, but I’ve read about it since, and I do.”
“I appreciate that straightforward answer,” Cornyn said. “It seems almost obvious, but for some reason people want to call it workplace violence or other things that just strike me as flat wrong and misleading, and a little bit of Orwellian talk.”
The Honoring the Fort Hood Heroes Act, introduced by Cornyn in the Senate and Fort Hood Reps. John R. Carter (R-Texas) and Roger Williams (R-Texas) in the House, became an amendment to the defense reauthorization bill after being introduced by Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas) in committee.
The bill specifically states the attack was “not merely workplace violence,” notes the attack on Fort Hood “could and should have been prevented,” recognizes that former Army psychiatrist Nidal Hasan “had become radicalized while serving in the United States Army and was principally motivated to carry out the attack by an ideology of violent Islamist extremism,” and adds “Hasan proved himself to be not just a terrorist, but also a traitor and an enemy of the United States.”
It stipulates that the Purple Heart should be awarded to service members killed or injured in the attack, and civilians killed or wounded should get the Secretary of Defense Medal for the Defense of Freedom. Benefits would be the same for those killed or wounded in a combat zone, and post-traumatic stress disorder treatment would be covered.