The Army psychiatrist accused in the Fort Hood shooting rampage has been paid more than $278,000 since the November 5, 2009 shootings that killed 13 people and wounded 32 others, Dallas television station KXAS reports.
Maj. Nidal M. Hasan is charged with 13 counts of murder and 32 counts of attempted murder in connection with the shootings. Civilians worked among soldiers at the Fort Hood processing center where the shooting took place. But Hasan targeted only those in uniform.
Since Hasan is a military employee, the Army is bound by the Military Code of Justice not to suspend Hasan's salary unless he is found guilty. If Hasan had been a civilian defense department employee, his salary could have been suspended as early as a week after the shooting incident, the station, also known as NBC5 reports.
Defense Department personnel rules allow for "indefinite suspensions" of civilian employees "when the agency has reasonable cause to believe that the employee has committed a crime for which a sentence of imprisonment may be imposed."
In contrast, soldiers injured in the attack still have not received monetary and medical benefits similar to what soldiers wounded in combat receive.
Hasan shouted "Allahu Akbar" – God is great – as he opened fire. He espoused a radical Islamist ideology and communicated with now-deceased Yemeni al-Qaida cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. He also made statements in support of jihad, including a 2007 PowerPoint presentation he made at Walter Reed Army Medical Center entitled "Why the War on Terror is a War on Islam."
Yet the Pentagon has refused to label the shootings a "terrorist attack" and the wounds of victims injured in the attacks are not regarded as "combat related." The Army, in fact, refers to the shootings as "workplace violence."As a result, the shooting victims are not given the pay provided to individuals injured in combat. The victims are also "not eligible for Purple Heart retirement or medical benefits given to other soldiers wounded either at war or during the Sept. 11, 2001 attack on the Pentagon," the report said.
U.S. Rep. Thomas Rooney, R-Fla., a former Fort Hood prosecutor, called the shooting spree "an attack on our military by a terrorist element specifically targeting our military." Rooney recently signed a bi-partisan letter to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to "urging him to re-classify the injuries and deaths resulting from the terrorist attack on Ft. Hood – currently designated by the Department as 'workplace violence' – as 'combat-related.'" The letter stated that the status quo has "…resulted in an embarrassing lack of care and treatment for the victims and their families."
A Senate committee report blasted the Pentagon's response, saying it appears the issue of Islamist extremism is "taboo," guaranteeing "inefficient and ineffective" responses.