An ABC News report showing survivors of the 2009 shooting attack at Fort Hood have not received full benefits for being wounded as part of their military service has prompted two ranking House Republicans to write to the White House demanding that the shootings be treated as a terrorist attack.
Because the Obama administration classified the shootings, which ended with 13 people dead and 32 others wounded, as workplace violence, those who survived have not receive Purple Hearts and medical benefits normally extended to people wounded in action.
In their letter to Congress last week, House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul and Virginia Rep. Frank Wolf call that "inexcusable," ABC News reported. "It is time for the administration to recognize the Fort Hood shooting for what it is—an act of terrorism. To date, the Department of Defense and the Army classify this attack [as] 'workplace violence,' despite mountains of evidence [that] clearly proves the Ft. Hood shooting was an act of terror."
Army psychiatrist Nidal Hasan still faces a military trial for the shooting spree inside a Fort Hood processing center. Hassan, who shouted "Allahu Akhbar" as he opened fire, exchanged e-mails with Anwar al-Awlaki before the attack, seeking the American-born al-Qaida cleric's blessing. Investigations uncovered a long record of radical Islamic behavior by Hasan, including writing "SOA," or "Soldier of Allah" on business cards and justifying suicide bombings and other terrorist acts during presentations. One presentation was entitled, "Why the War on Terror is a War on Islam."
Awlaki, who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in 2011, called Hasan a "hero … who could not bear living the contradiction of being a Muslim and serving in an army that is fighting against his own people."
The original ABC report featured survivors, including former Police Sgt. Kimberly Munley who was wounded while helping stop the shooting, describing the neglect and betrayal they feel about their treatment since then.
Munley and dozens of other victims have sued the Army for damages.
"It was no different than an insurgent in Iraq or Afghanistan trying to kill us," Shawn Manning, who was shot six times during the shooting, told ABC News. Two bullets remain lodged in his spine and leg.
He initially was classified as having suffered combat-related injuries before the classification was overruled by higher-ups in the Army. The re-designation of his injuries as "workplace violence" has cost Manning $70,000 that would have been available to him had the initial classification of his injuries remained.
Rep. John Carter, R-Texas, whose district includes Fort Hood, has introduced legislation to help the victims, making them eligible for full benefits and for the Purple Heart or its civilian equivalent.