Billingsley Compares Hasan And Other Cases

Terrorism on American Soil Is Finally Called Terrorism

How our heroes at home have been denied recognition.

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When Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik murdered 14 people in San Bernardino on December 2, the first response of the White House was to invoke “workplace violence.”  Two days later, against pressure from the Justice Department, the FBI declared the attack a case of terrorism. Now another 2015 terrorist attack is being properly labeled, and the victims at last gaining recognition.

On July 16, Kuwaiti-born Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez, 24, attacked a Navy Operational Support Center in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The attacker fired 35-40 shots from an AK-47, killing five members of the U.S. military: Carson Holmquist, Randall Smith, Thomas Sullivan, Squire Wells, and David Wyatt, 37. Abdulazeez also wounded Marine recruiter Demonte Cheely and police sergeant Dennis Pedigo.

Police killed Abdulazeez, who also deployed a 9mm handgun and attacked a second recruiting station. Despite the profile of the shooter, the nature of the target, and the multiple fatalities, federal authorities declined to call the attack terrorism. That changed on December 16, two weeks after the San Bernardino attacks.

FBI Director James Comey said the Chattanooga attacks were “inspired and motivated by foreign terrorist propaganda.” Likewise, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus announced that, following an extensive investigation, the FBI and NCIS have determined that the Chattanooga attack was “inspired by a foreign terrorist group” not named but considered to be ISIS. That cleared the way for awarding of the Purple Heart to the victims, including the injured Marine. In Chattanooga the delay was four months. With the Fort Hood victims it was a matter of years.

On November 5, 2009, at Ford Hood, Texas, U.S. soldiers were getting their final medical checkups before deploying to Afghanistan. Major Nidal Malik Hasan, an Army psychiatrist who described himself as a “Soldier of Allah,” began gunning down the soldiers. His victims, all unarmed, included Francheska Velez, a 21-year-old private from Chicago who pleaded for the life of her unborn child. The Muslim major killed two other women that day along with 10 men, more than twice as many victims as the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993. Hasan also wounded 33 others, including Sergeant Alonzo Lunsford, who played dead then fled the building.

Major Hasan chased down Lunsford, an African-American, and shot him seven times, including one bullet in the back. Firing a high-capacity handgun fitted with laser sights, Major Hasan shot Sergeant Shawn Manning in the chest and pumped four rounds into Sgt. Patrick Zeigler. Hasan would have killed and wounded more if civilian police officer Kimberley Munley had not wounded the assailant, who yelled “Allahu akbar,” as he killed.

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