The Fort Hood Attack: Unresolved

The Fort Hood Attack: Unresolved

By Rep. John Carter - April 30, 2010

Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical Al-Qaeda leader from the Washington, D.C. area but now hiding in Yemen, played a role in the 9-11 attacks, along with attempted attacks in 2006 on the Canadian Parliament and in 2007 against U.S. soldiers at Fort Dix, New Jersey. Then on November 5, 2009, he succeeded in helping instigate the deadly attack on Fort Hood, Texas leaving 14 Americans dead and 30 wounded.

Al-Awlaki then dispatched a second assassin to bomb a U.S. airliner on Christmas Day, which attempt fortunately failed. Awlaki has since released a video claiming credit for the Fort Hood and airliner attacks, acknowledging his role, and praising the attackers.

Yet the Obama Administration continues to deny the Fort Hood attack was terrorism, failed to grant the casualties the same status as that given casualties from the 2001 Pentagon attack, conspicuously omitted even mention of the words "radical Islamic terrorism" in the official DOD report on the shootings, and will not acknowledge the role of political-correctness in stifling whistleblower warnings of the impending attack.

Now the Administration is refusing to fully comply with a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee subpoena that the Pentagon share documents and witnesses concerning the incident.

Senate Homeland Security Chairman Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Ranking Minority Member Susan Collins (R-MA) issued the subpoena after the Administration refused to provide those documents on the request of the committee.

The Administration bases their denial on the argument that releasing the information might endanger their prosecution of Major Nidal Hasan.

As a state judge who presided over murder trials for 20 years before coming to Congress, that's ludicrous. Any prosecutor who can't win a conviction against Hasan with literally dozens of eyewitnesses doesn't need to be a prosecutor.

House and Senate members are not convinced that the Pentagon is taking the necessary steps to provide maximum deterrance to similar attacks in the future, or to respond to the aftermath of this attack. This is why subpoenas have been issued, and why I have introduced legislation to remedy these shortcomings.

As to the specific bills I introduced this year dealing with the Fort Hood attack, no floor or committee action has yet been taken, but the text of the bills are under consideration for inclusion in this year's Defense Authorization Act.

The Fort Hood Families Benefits Protection Act, HR 4791 in the House and S 2807 by Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) in the Senate, would award both military and civilian casualties of the Fort Hood attack the same status as that awarded unilaterally by the Department of Defense to the casualties of the Pentagon attack on September 11, 2001. All casualties would be deemed eligible for the Purple Heart or the DOD civilian award equivalent. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has also been asked to make that determination unilaterally as did former Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in 2001.

The Military Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act, HR 4267, protects service members from politically-correct disciplinary action for reporting or taking protective steps against radical Islamic threats.

There is a new Al-Qaeda attack scheme against America that has emerged since 2001, that must be recognized by the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security.

"Lone wolves" are being actively recruited by Al-Awlaki and his like over the internet, and encouraged to attack alone if necessary. The attackers may be dysfunctional individuals or even mentally unbalanced, but that makes no difference. The results of the attack are all that matter to Al-Qaeda. Major Hasan, the underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, Colleen Rose and Jamie Paulin-Ramirez - the American women implicated in the plot to kill a Swedish cartoonist for drawing Mohammed - all are concrete examples of this new Al-Qaeda attack strategy.

It is a strategy that must be recognized, trained for, and guarded against by our Armed Forces and law enforcement agencies. Refusing to acknowledge reality is not the way to make that happen.

John Carter is the U.S. Congressional Representative from Texas's 31st congressional district.

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