Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan is charged with 13 counts of murder in the Fort Hood shootings. Was it a 'killing spree' or 'terrorism,' and is the question more than political?
Maj. Hasan, who allegedly killed 13 and wounded dozens during a Nov. 5 rampage at Fort Hood, Texas, is charged with 13 counts of murder, which could lead to a death penalty conviction at an Army court martial. Terror charges have not been filed.
Pending a series of legislative, Army, and Defense Department investigations into the rampage, the Obama administration has resisted the “terror” label. And one new poll shows slightly more Americans agreeing that the Fort Hood shooting was a “killing spree” rather than “an act of terrorism.”
But some US lawmakers see the terrorism analogy as fundamentally important to the inquiry -- not just into Hasan’s motivations, but to national security generally in the Fort Hood aftermath.
At Senate hearings this week, some witnesses testified that “political correctness” undermined efforts to pinpoint Hasan and neutralize him before the shooting.
“The difference between the White House’s determination and many lawmakers’ perception is that President Obama and his advisers do not want to consider the massacre as an act of terror ‘yet’ while Senator Joe Lieberman and other legislators in both houses do see it as an ideologically motivated terror action,” says Walid Phares, an expert on Islamic jihad at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a conservative think tank in Washington.
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