Victims of the Fort Hood shooting in 2009 say that a letter gunman Nidal Hasan wrote to the leader of Islamic State provides further evidence that the rampage that killed 13 people was a terrorist attack.
"It’s just yet another piece of evidence demonstrating that the government really has been lying about Hasan and his motivation for years," Reed Rubinstein, a lawyer representing the victims of the shooting, told The Washington Examiner
. "It’s almost like [Hasan is] taunting him — especially given the federal government’s response to the attacks."
Nearly 160 victims and family members of the Nov. 5, 2009, shooting in Killeen, Texas, are battling with the Obama administration to have the attack classified as terrorism, the Examiner reports. More than 30 people were wounded and dozens of others were injured.
Hasan, 43, was sentenced to death by a military court for the shooting, for which he provided no defense. The U.S. Defense Department considered the incident "workplace violence," while many victims charged that Hasan did not want to go to Afghanistan because he would have been combating other Muslims.
If the incident is declared terrorism, it would be considered as taking place in a war zone — making military victims eligible for Purple Heart citations, the Examiner reports. Others could obtain the healthcare and benefits afforded those who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Hasan's hand-written, two-page letter was disclosed Friday by Fox News. He wrote Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of the Islamic State, asking to become a citizen of its caliphate.
"I formally and humbly request to be made a citizen of the Islamic State," Hasan wrote
. "It would be an honor for any believer to be an obedient citizen soldier to a people and its leader who don't compromise the religion of All-Mighty Allah to get along with the disbelievers."
Rep. Roger Williams, the Texas Republican who represents part of Fort Hood, told the Examiner that Hasan's letter proved that the shooting was "positively a terrorist attack carried out by an extremist as everyone already knows, including Hassan who has admitted as much.
"Only the Obama administration denies this," Williams said on Friday. "Again, I hope this administration will do the right thing for once by reclassifying this attack from workplace violence to what it really is — terrorism — in order to get the victims and the families of those we lost the benefits they have earned and deserve."
A White House spokeswoman referred the Examiner to the Pentagon, which did not respond to a request for comment.
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