Justice for Fort Hood Heroes Act Introduced

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"There is no doubt that the Fort Hood massacre was an act of terror. Hasan's statements and writings have repeatedly confirmed that he believed he was carrying out an act of war against the United States," Rooney said. "President Obama himself listed the attack as an act of terror, and the National Counterterrorism Center, the State Department, the current Director of the Central Intelligence Agency have recognized this as well. It's time for the Administration to confirm officially that the Fort Hood attack was in fact terrorism."

Rooney said in response to previous legislative proposals designed to provide benefits to the victims, the Department of Defense has objected to designating the attack as an act of terror and has denied requests to award the victims with the Purple Heart.

"I disagree with the Army's concerns and firmly believe we should designate the Fort Hood shooting as a terrorist attack. However, with this bill we have found a way to set that debate aside, work together and make sure the victims and their families get the care they need," Rooney added.

A spokesman for Rooney says the Congressman still supports efforts to award victims Purple Hearts.

It's unclear what impact the new legislation could have on a lawsuit filed by most of the victims of the attack.

One of their attorneys, Reed Rubinstein says, "We appreciate the support and it's a nice first step, but, ultimately, it's the government's responsibility to treat the victims of the Fort Hood terrorist attack in the same way as the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon."

In addition to Rooney, who served at Fort Hood before entering politics, the legislation was co-sponsored by John Carter, R-Texas, Tim Griffin R-Ark., Michael McCaul, R-Texas, Roger Williams, R-Texas, and Frank Wolf, R-Virg.

The bill would also provide the same benefits to the victims of the 2009 Little Rock recruiting office shooting in 2009 which left one soldier dead and another wounded. An American convert to Islam, Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammed, claimed he was sent out on the attacks by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. He pleaded guilty, but was not charged with terrorism in the case.

Explaining the military's decision not to call the Fort Hood attack terrorism, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little told ABC News earlier this year, "The Department of Defense is also committed to the integrity of the ongoing court martial proceedings of Major Nidal Hasan and for that reason will not at this time further characterize the incident."

The Office of the Secretary of Defense declined to comment for this report.

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