Two lawmakers in the U.S. Senate introduced a bill on Thursday -- the day after the 9-11 memorial -- that would force the Obama administration to finally classify the Fort Hood attack by an Army psychiatrist, which left 13 dead and more than 30 wounded in 2009, as an act of terrorism. according to law enforcement officials who spoke with the Examiner.
GOP Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, both of Texas, formally introduced the new Senate bill, titled, "Honoring the Fort Hood Heroes Act of 2013," on the Senate floor on Thursday, according to Det. Lt. Charles Petrosky, a former counterterrorism task force analyst.
The Cornyn-Cruz legislation follows the protests from the victims and their families who are connected to Maj. Nidal Hasan's rampage. The Obama administration had labeled the 2009 shooting spree as a workplace violence incident, which deprived victims of the combat-related benefits they would normally receive.
According to President Barack Obama's critics, the classification of the Fort Hood as workplace violence instead of a terror attack was done to help Obama save face after telling everyone that al-Qaeda was practically defeated and on the run. "Just to serve his own ego, the Commander-in-Chief allowed heroes and their families to be denied their rightful compensation," said former U.S. Marine and police detective Mike Snopes.
"It is important that we direct our attention to the people who deserve it: the victims and their families. Twelve soldiers, one civilian, and one unborn child were killed on that November day in 2009, and over 30 were injured. These men and women came from all walks of life and every corner of the nation, but they were bound together by a love of country and a desire to serve," stated Sen. Cornyn.
"As a country, we must ensure that the dead, the wounded, and the families of the victims receive the full honors and benefits bestowed upon soldiers who are wounded or killed in overseas combat zones," said the lawmaker from Texas.
"With so many issues facing both houses of the U.S. Congress, it's not known if the bill will pass and garner the signature of President Barack Obama," said Petrosky.
If passed, the bill will entitle victims and their immediate family members to receive the same compensation as other military personnel killed or wounded as a result of terrorist attacks.
"This is the additional piece of the actual justice due -- beyond the conviction and sentencing of Nidal Hasan. The latter was really about 'one person.' However, the greater justice required in this case, in my opinion, is that all those victims -- still having the possibility of 'life after Hasan' -- do greatly deserve this final act of justice served to them," Michele Vannote , sister of Fort Hood victim Capt. John P. Gaffaney, told the senators introducing and sponsoring the bill.
The convicted murderer, 42-year-old Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Hasan, received a death sentence from a panel of military jurors in August. He is being held at the military penitentiary Fort Leavenworth in Kansas, which contain's a death row for soldiers awaiting execution, according to the Pentagon.
According to JAG (Judge Advocate General) office, a death sentence is a rare occurrence in the U.S. military. The last American soldier to be executed was put to death in 1961.
Pentagon data indicates that the U.S. military executed 160 soldiers and other members of the armed services between 1942 and 1961. Presently there are six men on death row for murders committed while they served in the military including Hasan K. Akbar, who was convicted of killing two officers in Kuwait while awaiting the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
Akbar, an American Muslim, is considered the poster boy for radical Muslims in the U.S. military, according to jihadist expert Dr. Daniel Pipes.
Hasan may be the first American soldier executed in more than 70 years. However, with the military justice system's appeals process as it is, it may be a long time before Maj. Hasan is finally put to death.
Jim Kouri, CPP, is founder and CEO of Kouri Associates, a homeland security, public safety and political consulting firm. He's formerly Fifth Vice-President, now a Board Member of the National Association of Chiefs of Police, an editor for ConservativeBase.com, and he's a columnist for Examiner.com. In addition, he's a blogger for the Cheyenne, Wyoming Fox News Radio affiliate KGAB (www.kgab.com) and editor of Conservative Base Magazine (www.conservativebase.com). Kouri also serves as political advisor for Emmy and Golden Globe winning actor Michael Moriarty.
He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at St. Peter's University and director of security for several major organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country.
He holds a bachelor of science in Criminal Justice from Southwest University and SCI Technical School in New York City and completed training at the NYC Police Academy, FBI Continuing Education Program, and the Certified Protection Professional (CPP) of the American Society for Industrial Security.
Kouri appears regularly as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Fox News Channel, Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, etc.
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