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Lawmakers seek to reclassify Fort Hood shootings as terror attack

May 7, 2013 at 10:33 AM

WASHINGTON, May 7 (UPI) -- Three members of Congress asked the U.S. Defense Department again to classify the 2009 shootings at Fort Hood, Texas, a terrorist attack.

In a letter to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel this week, Reps Tom Rooney, R-Fla.; Chaka Fattah, D-Pa.; and Frank Wolf, R-Va., said the decision soon after the attack to treat it as workplace violence rather than a terrorist attack "has since resulted in an embarrassing lack of care and treatment by our military for the victims and their families," Stars and Stripes reported Monday.

Lawmakers and officials of the Obama administration have been at odds over the designation of the incident in which 14 people were killed and 32 more were wounded.

Witnesses to the November 2009 incident said the alleged shooter, Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, shouted Muslim phrases as he fired his weapon. He is awaiting trial on murder and assault charges.

The lawmakers want the attack formally classified as a combat-related attack, making victims and their families eligible for additional compensation and the Purple Heart. Survivors have said they could receive up to $800 more a month in disability pay if the attack were reclassified, Stars and Stripes said.

Lawmakers tried unsuccessfully for three years to classify the attack as terrorism or a combat incident, with White House and Pentagon officials saying it could compromise legal efforts against Hasan.

Stars and Stripes said Defense Department officials didn't give an immediate response to the letter.

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