Sen. Susan Collins on Wednesday blasted the Defense Department for classifying the Fort Hood massacre as workplace violence and suggested political correctness is being placed above the security of the nation’s Armed Forces at home.
During a joint session of the Senate and House Homeland Security Committee on Wednesday, the Maine Republican referenced a letter from the Defense Department depicting the Fort Hood shootings as workplace violence. She criticized the Obama administration for failing to identify the threat as radical Islam.
April 9, 2010: FILE – This file photo provided by the Bell County Sheriff’s Department shows U.S. Major Nidal Hasan at the Bell County Jail in Belton, Texas. Hasan was charged in the Fort Hood shooting rampage.
“The documents attached illustrate how the Department is dealing with the threat of violent Islamist extremism in the context of a broader threat of workplace violence,” read the letter, which was obtained by Fox News.
Thirteen people were killed and dozens more wounded at Fort Hood in 2009, and the number of alleged plots targeting the military has grown significantly since then. Lawmakers said there have been 33 plots against the U.S. military since Sept. 11, 2001, and 70 percent of those threats have been since mid-2009. Major Nidal Hasan, a former Army psychiatrist, who is being held for the attacks, allegedly was inspired by radical U.S.-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen in late September. The two men exchanged as many as 20 emails, according to U.S. officials, and Awlaki declared Hasan a hero.
The chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Connecticut independent Sen. Joe Lieberman, said the military has become a “direct target of violent Islamist extremism” within the United States.
“The stark reality is that the American service member is increasingly in the terrorists’ scope and not just overseas in a traditional war setting,” Lieberman told Fox News before the start of Wednesday’s hearing.
In June, two men allegedly plotted to attack a Seattle, Wash., military installation using guns and grenades. In July, Army Pvt. Naser Abdo was accused of planning a second attack on Fort Hood. And in November, New York police arrested Jose Pimentel, who alleged sought to kill service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.