President Barack Obama's declaration that the 2009 shootings at Fort Hood may have been an act of "jihad," will help the cause of survivors who say the government should classify it as terrorism, not workplace violence, Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert says.
"Absolutely, absolutely. This administration has been nothing but a walking contradiction,'' Gohmert told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
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The Defense Department and other agencies are under fire for calling the massacre at the Texas military base — in which a sole gunman killed 13 people and injured 32 — a case of workplace violence.
Several survivors and family members are suing the government for negligence and want the attack reclassified as terrorism or as having been motivated by militant Islamic extremism.
The government has refused and the prospect of a reclassification seemed dim — until the president, speaking on Thursday about acts of violence against the nation, said:
"We face a real threat from radicalized individuals here in the United States … Deranged or alienated individuals, often U.S. citizens or legal residents, can do enormous damage, particularly when inspired by larger notions of violent jihad, and that pull toward extremism appears to have led to the shooting at Fort Hood …"
"Jihad" is defined as the struggle against the enemies of Islam and sometimes called a "Holy War."
Gohmert believes survivors and family members of victims will now be able to use the president's statement in court to further their argument that the shootings were not simply workplace violence.
"Of course it was not workplace violence — any more than Pearl Harbor was," Gohmert, vice chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security, told Steve Malzberg.
The lone suspect in the mass shootings is U.S. Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan, who was heard spouting extremist views before the attack and had once sent emails to a known al-Qaeda terrorist.
Hasan, 39, has been charged with multiple counts of murder and attempted murder and faces court-martial proceedings beginning next week.
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