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Fort Hood Shootings: Workplace Violence or Terrorism?

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. CARTER. Mr. Speaker, 13 adults and one unborn child were killed and 31 individuals were wounded in a shooting attack at Fort Hood, Texas, on November 5, 2009. Since that time, the Department of Defense has taken no steps to award combat benefits to the casualties or even officially recognize the attack as a terrorist incident.

The House and Senate have included two reform measures in the NDAA, which we just passed, while additional attacks have been attempted by similar high-profile radical Islamic terrorists. It is past time for the government to deliver on this act.

Mr. Speaker, here we are almost 3 years later, and there's been a recent report that has come out; and in that report, it references this incident of this slaughter of American troops on Fort Hood soil in Texas. It references that it shall be taken up as part of workplace violence.

The Obama regime calls the Fort Hood shooting ``workplace violence.'' Sure, it's workplace violence: it's where they work and it's violence. But we have a concept of what workplace violence is. And your normal workplace violence is not preceded by a shout by the shooter, ``God is great,'' in the Arabic language. It's not preceded by discussions by the alleged perpetrator. It's alleged because he hasn't been convicted yet. And we, in a free American world, take the position that all are innocent until proven guilty. So we will call him the ``alleged'' shooter.

But there's clear evidence in reports by the Defense Department and by reports by the news media, reports by witnesses on the scene, reports by his fellow soldiers, reports by folks from Walter Reed Hospital where this American-trained, military-trained doctor worked that he had advocated that the American soldier was wrong and that he was contrary, and he spoke and preached Islamic terrorism.

So your normal workplace violence, that's not a part of the factor. Yet this is what happened in this case. Senator Collins on Wednesday blasted the Defense Department, and bless her for it, for classifying the Fort Hood massacre as workplace violence and suggested political correctness is being placed above the security of the Nation's Armed Forces at home.

I've been talking about this now since the day after this happened. We can't have a world where political correctness fails to define the criminal act. By its very nature, whether we're talking about military law and the criminal relations in military law, we're just talking about criminal acts in general, we have to be able to define them. Just to make the system work we have to be able to define them.

But more importantly, we owe a duty and a responsibility to the American soldier to call an event what it is and not try to put a smokescreen over it or cloud the issue or in any way worry about the feelings of groups, because the definition is the definition. This man identified himself that he was committing this act in the name of ``God is great'' in Arabic. He acknowledged when questioned that it was part of his mission. He acknowledged that he had dealt with terrorist spokesmen in the past and that the concept came from his interaction with Awlaki and others.

So this guy is an Islamic terrorist. There's no other way you can describe this gentleman.

But now years after the event as he sits in the Bell County Jail in Belton, Texas, we continue to have reports coming down from our Defense Department that the folks that are responsible for our soldiers and responsible for those who died in this incident want to downplay this to be treated as an incident of workplace violence with all the white bread connotation that that has. To me, we ought to be ashamed of ourselves.

So let's look at some of the evidence we have that connects this to Islamic terrorism, recognizing the November 5, 2009, attack on Fort Hood, Texas, as an act of radical Islamic terrorism and jihad.

Anwar Awlaki connection. Now, Mr. Awlaki is no longer with us. We have taken that boy out. Yet the bottom line is, at the time this happened, they were directly connected.

This man preached, taught, and encouraged violence--Islamic terrorist violence: ``Hasan's presentations to the DOD on jihad justification.'' He would argue with his fellow soldiers about the justification for having jihad against the American military. Mr. Hasan was a member of the United States Army. He was a major. He had been serving in the Medical Corps as a psychiatrist. He was trained with American taxpayer dollars, but he was preaching jihad to soldiers, and there was lots of evidence.

I had a bill, which was included in this recent defense bill that we just passed. It said that this guy was telling people that he'd believed in this kind of thing since medical school. Now he's a major, serving as a psychiatrist, advising our soldiers.

``Hasan purchased and practiced with high-capacity firearms prior to the attack.'' He went out and he bought firearms. He bought them at a local gun store. Of the guns that were used in the killings, one of them was a semiautomatic weapon with a large magazine capacity. He went out to the firing range and familiarized himself with these weapons prior to this incident.

You can't think of this as some guy who goes postal all of a sudden. This guy was planning this whole event. He shouts, ``God is great'' in Arabic, before he starts shooting, but they refer to it in the context of the broader threat of workplace violence. I think there is a very good argument that the evidence shows this was a premeditated act on the part of Major Hasan; and I believe when this case finally gets to trial that the evidence will be overwhelming that it was premeditated.

At the time of the event, Lieutenant General Cone, the III Corps Commander at Fort Hood, told NBC's ``Today'' show on the Friday after the shooting that the soldiers who witnessed the shooting rampage that left 13 people dead reported that the gunman shouted, ``Allahu Akbar''--which means ``God is great''--before opening fire at the Texas post.

The day after, it was being reported that he did this. Yet, in the initial report that came out from the Defense Department, the man's name didn't even appear. The relationship to any Islamic terrorism was not referenced. It was like any major from any outfit just wandered in and started shooting soldiers, like he was having a bad day or something.

Now we get another comment saying that we're going to treat this in the bigger scope of workplace violence. Certainly, we want to prevent workplace violence in every workplace, but the connotation is that this is just something that happened. It's not something that just happened because, quite honestly, since that time, others have been caught who reportedly were trying to imitate this shooter, Mr. Hasan.
We introduced a bill, the Fort Hood Families Benefits Protection Act. It would award both military and civilian casualties of the Ford Hood attack with combat status to ensure full benefits and eligibility for the Purple Heart and other awards and for the civilian award equivalence to the Secretary of Defense's Defense of Freedom medal.

Now, why did I ask for that? Because there was a precedent for it. When they flew the plane into the Pentagon on 9/11, this is what was the finding of the Department of Defense--that it was an act of terrorism, and therefore they should be treated as combat casualties, and those two medals were awarded. This didn't just come off the top of my head. This is what happened with the first terrorist attack in our country and with the second or third or whatever attack this one was.

When this man walked into that room, there were people in civilian garb, and there were people in uniform. He went out of his way to shoot the people in uniform. The civilians who were injured were injured because of misfire or misdirection. As he walked down that line, his target was all of those soldiers who were doing nothing more than either coming back from being off post and out of the country--or wherever they'd been--or preparing for their next duty stations, wherever they may be going--Iraq or Afghanistan. They were being processed and they were in this big room. He walked down the line, shooting everybody in uniform.

Now, when you're killing our combat soldiers and when you're crying out slogans of the jihad terrorists, why wouldn't you think it's a terrorist attack, and why shouldn't these people who died in the line of duty be treated like those at the Pentagon who died in the line of duty?

In fact, except for what we were able to put together in circumstantial evidence after the fact, at the time of the incident, we had no idea who flew that

plane into the Pentagon. We just made an educated guess. In this case, before this shooting started, the guy identified himself and what his mission was.

For some reason, in this world of political correctness, someone has the idea that this is good for the morale of our military soldiers or that it's good for something as, I think, the Chief of Staff said when this happened: Oh, this is sure going to hurt our Islamic outreach program.

Whether it's good for that or not, I hold nothing against the Islamic people nor does anybody at Fort Hood; but we hold a lot against Islamic terrorists who kill soldiers, and the Department of Defense should have the guts to step up and to stand up for these soldiers.

I see my good friend and colleague from Texas, former Judge Louie Gohmert, has joined me here.

Congressman Gohmert, I yield such time as you may require.

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Mr. CARTER. When you read the reports on Major Hasan, he was acting erratically. In the months before the attack, he promoted radical Islamic views while at Walter Reed Hospital. He exchanged email with Anwar al-Awlaki, a Yemeni cleric with terrorist ties. All of those references also pertained to the soldiers you were talking about right there. It is all part of a network.

Now, is every Muslim that is involved in the United States military involved in this? Absolutely not. I went to the National Training Center in California, and I met loyal, truly loyal and patriotic Muslim Americans who are helping our soldiers understand the nature, the language, the concepts, everything that they might be facing as they interact with Muslim civilians over in Iraq. And they do it in constructed villages.

I met a guy who was a former cab driver from Chicago who said, Man, I've come up in the world; I'm now mayor of this town, because he was negotiating with a mayor and city councilman for our soldiers as they came into the National Training Center. These people are patriots. They are living out in the desert just to help our soldiers understand.

I'm not anti those folks, but you can't have a world where you refuse to identify evil, and this is what you do when political correctness overcomes the truth.

Janet Napolitano personally testified: Violent Islamic terrorism was part and parcel of the Fort Hood killings, Homeland Security Napolitano said on February 24, 2010, about 3 months after the event, 4 months after the event, in a Senate Homeland Security Committee. She testified--accurately--and I praise her for it, that this was a terrorist act.

And yet we continue to have from the Department of Defense the soft-soaping of this whole issue and the disguising of this whole issue. And now with their statement that they are going to deal with it as they would deal with any workplace violence, you know, it just never stops.

The shoe bomber, the Christmas following this incident, the shoe bomber who did exactly what Major Hasan did, reading back what the press reported, acted erratically before his attack, promoted radical Islamic views, and exchanged emails with Awlaki in Yemen. He did all of those things. And when caught, referenced Major Hasan as one of his heroes. He got caught before he blew up an airplane. Praise God. Thank goodness.

So, you know, over 3 years since the incident, the Defense Department is still taking the position that this should be treated as normal workforce violence or something to that effect.

I yield to the gentleman.

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Mr. CARTER. Don't you wonder have we changed so much since the attack on Pearl Harbor that we don't recognize an enemy attack on us and we just want to stick our head in the sand and act like it didn't happen?

Here's an interesting report from Time magazine. They are asking the question, and they state: The U.S. military just released a report--this is that first report--not once mentioning Major Hasan's name or even discussing whether the killings had anything to do with his Muslim faith. The fort ignores the elephant in the room.

That's what I said. And it's true. It does ignore the elephant in the room. If before the first bullet is fired, a man shouts, Allahu Akhbar, that elephant is in the room. And all of the cover-up and all of the writing of the reports with reference to typical workforce violence, or treat it as workforce violence, it doesn't make sense. It was an attack on American soldiers in uniform.

I yield to the gentleman.

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Mr. CARTER. This exhibit here is from the San Francisco Chronicle: Political Correctness on Fort Hood at the Pentagon. Political correctness is alive in the Pentagon. Witness the protecting the force lessons from Fort Hood. A Department of Defense report released last week on the November 5 shooting, if the report's purpose was to craft lessons to prevent future attacks, how could they leave out radical Islam? Ignoring Hasan's pro-terrorist Web postings, the report instead focuses on workplace violence programs to prevent workplace violence such as the post office's Going Postal program and the stress imposed on military health care providers.

The whole point of that San Francisco Chronicle article is to point out, I think, the irony of what we are teaching our soldiers to protect them from events like this and what we are excluding from the evidence. And I think that's blatantly not in the best interests of the soldier.

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Mr. CARTER. I thank the gentleman.

You just referenced in your poster and showed us a picture of Mr. Abdo, the man that was saying he couldn't go to war. That was back on July 28, 2011, after the workplace violence. Another soldier made the same claim, and Abdo was also referenced in this story.

More and more of these folks are stepping up and saying they can't be deployed because they are Muslim and can't kill Muslims, and they reference Hasan, this man who is sitting in the Bell County jail awaiting trial probably this spring and is, I understand it, awaiting trial on a death penalty case, a potential death penalty

case.

Everybody knew what it was when they attacked the Pentagon. What happened to us that we decided when, in front of 50 witnesses, somebody shoots a bunch of people and we can't recognize what that was? This was a surprise attack like Pearl Harbor. That was a premeditated murder like you and I have dealt with in the past with more witnesses than you could put on a stand. I mean, this is not going to be a hard case to prove because, fortunately, he didn't kill everybody in the room. In fact, he left an awful lot of witnesses there to testify.

He is just lucky he didn't get killed in an active shooter program that our two police officers used to respond effectively to his slaughter.

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Mr. CARTER. Mr. Gohmert, let me read to you a resolution, H. Res. 495, which I dropped yesterday. It's a resolution recognizing the November 5, 2009, attack on Fort Hood, Texas, as an act of radical Islamic terrorism and jihad:

Whereas the United States Army Major Nidal Hasan is reported to have communicated on multiple occasions with radical Islamic terrorist, Anwar al-Awlaki, on the topic of justifying jihad on the United States and its Armed Forces;

Whereas Major Hasan delivered addresses to the Department of Defense personnel concerning the justification of jihad against the United States Armed Forces;

Whereas Major Hasan is reported to have planned and trained for an attack on unarmed members of the United States Armed Forces at Fort Hood, Texas, with the specific intent to kill and injure those troops before the deployment to overseas theaters of war;

Whereas Major Hasan is reported to have declared his attack to be an act of jihad in defense of Islam, shouting ``God is great'' in Arabic while gunning down unarmed military personnel and civilians;
Whereas Major Hasan is currently charged with murder of 13 and attempted murder of 32 United States citizens during that attack;

And whereas the Department of Defense submitted correspondence to the United States Senate Committee on Homeland Security which referred to the violent Islamic extremist attack on Fort Hood, Texas, in the context of a broader threat of workplace violence: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, that the House of Representatives recognizes the attack on Fort Hood, Texas, as an act of radical Islamic terrorism and jihad against the United States Armed Forces.

I have submitted this to the House, and I'm going to be seeking support for this resolution.

I wonder sometimes what our Forefathers would think of how far we've gone out of kilter in recognizing who's our friend and who's our enemy, or how we are so concerned about what the speak police or the voice police would say to us about some language we use that we would be willing to put those men and women who wear the uniform of our armed services at risk rather than make a statement that might offend somebody.

I think our grandparents would look at this country and say, what happened, what happened to the United States of America that I fought for in World War II or Korea or Vietnam? When did it become evil for Americans to speak the truth? Why would people who have four stars on their shoulder, who we highly respect as leaders of our armed services, tolerate being instructed in this concept of political correctness and be treating this as if it were an ordinary incident of workforce violence? How do we justify that? Where is the common sense in this effort? We're worried about hurting other people's feelings, and other people are killing us. I mean, this doesn't make any sense.

And most of all, let's not forget--because I attended the funeral of one of the civilians. I have met with some of the wives and children of these dead combat soldiers and talked to the parents that looked me in the eye and said, how do I figure this out? My kid was there to be deployed for the fourth time. He stood in harm's way for our country 3 years already, and he goes over to the deployment center for a routine matter dealing with paperwork and he gets attacked and killed in Texas, just right down the street from where he lives. And his children and his wife are without a brave American soldier who had proven his worth in combat in three deployments already.

This is something that his parent sits there and says, how could anything like this ever happen? I mean, I know to be praying every day for my child when he's in combat. This is the profession he has chosen; I respect it. I fear for him; I worry about him. I want to make sure--he or she, because our ladies are fighting just like our men. And now I get the word that my son is killed down the street from his kid's elementary school while he's going through a routine act of filling out paperwork in the Army?

And then what do we tell that parent when later we find out that a report has come out from the government saying ``routine workforce violence''? Come on, come on. What's wrong with this? I think it's just tragic.

I introduced a bill that just said, look, acknowledge it for what it is. Nothing will draw disrespect for the Purple Heart, or others who are wounded in combat in a combat theater, to just acknowledge that these innocent people got attacked on their way to their next deployment, or on their way back from their last deployment, on our soil, on our military base, in our State of Texas. Can we at least give them the respect to acknowledge that they're part of the war effort, that this guy shot them because we are at war

with terrorists? Give them combat credit. Give them the honor and respect that comes from that. But we're still not able to get that done.

We're going to keep trying. I have people call me from all over the country and say, how are we doing? You know, my kid at least ought to get a Purple Heart. My daughter ought to get a Purple Heart for the wound she received, and now she's debilitated and has to go out of the Army. My son, who's going through constant therapy for his head wound, he ought to be recognized by the Army for what happened to him, the reality of what happened to him.

And so we won't make the easy acknowledgement that these folks were in combat. And the only reason they didn't fight this guy is because they were not armed. And the reason they were not armed is because you're not supposed to be armed on post. This guy attacks them. If they would have been armed, it would have been over when the first bullet fired. These are combat veterans.

But no, we are very strict--oh, we're now going to change this designation the Army has or that designation the Army has. But we aren't going to call this guy a terrorist. Don't mention the word ``Islamic.'' Don't recognize his relationship with an Islamic terrorist. Ignore all that evidence, ignore the testimony of 50-some-odd witnesses and say we will treat it within the concept of workforce violence. What does that say to the wife or husband of that soldier, or the father or mother of that soldier, or the brother and sister of that soldier that was killed or wounded with a debilitating wound--many of which are still struggling with their wounds, just like they do in combat.

Yet we conveniently define things in that situation, but refuse to define the act that caused the situation. This just is not right. That's why I'm very grateful my friend Mr. Gohmert and I came down here to talk about this. This is all about trying to just set the record straight. You know, let's call it like we see it, and let's don't think we have to protect anybody.

And it has absolutely nothing to do with the Muslim religion. If he was a Baptist and was shouting Baptist slogans as his reason for shooting somebody, we ought to call him a Baptist.

This is a tragedy. It's a terrible tragedy because these were soldiers, all of whom had been willing to go in harm's way on behalf of our country, and most of whom had gone into harm's way on behalf of our country and suffered through that miserable weather and those dark lonely nights, and all the other things that soldiers suffer through when they're addressing terrorism around the world.

I say around the world because we've still got plenty of places we're addressing terrorism, not just Iraq and Afghanistan. To have us be willing to soft-pedal what happened to them is an American tragedy, and I'm going to continue to talk about it.

Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.

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