Since Killing 13, Fort Hood Shooter Has Earned $278,000 in Salary as Army Psychiatrist

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Nidal Hasan, the U.S. Army psychiatrist accused of killing 13 soldiers at Fort Hood more than three years ago, has continued to collect his salary while awaiting trial.

 

Hasan has earned $278,000 since the shooting rampage that also wounded 32 individuals, KXAS in Dallas reported. Army officials say the Uniform Code of Military Justice requires Hasan to receive his salary unless he is found guilty.

 

The military could have suspended Hasan’s pay only if he was a civilian defense department employee. And even then the suspension can last for just seven days.

 

Yelling “God is great” in Arabic, the 39-year-old Army major opened fire on soldiers at the Killeen, Texas, military post on November 5, 2009. It was the worst shooting to ever take place at a U.S. military base. Hasan was shot four times during the assault, which left him paralyzed from the waist down.

 

Days following the attack, it was discovered that a Joint Terrorism Task Force had knowledge of emails exchanged between Hasan and U.S.-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, a designated U.S. security threat living in Yemen who had been the subject of National Security Agency surveillance (later assassinated in a U.S. drone strike). It was also disclosed that colleagues of Hasan had been aware of his radicalization for years and, finding him possibly psychotic, had explored ways to have him ejected from the Army.

 

In spite of this background, the government classified the shooting as a “workplace violence” incident, and not an act of terror or combat-related. In 2011, a group of survivors and family members filed suit against the government for failing to prevent the attack and to force the incident to be reclassified as terrorism. Additionally, several members of Congress have asked Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to re-designate the event.

 

Soldiers wounded in the shooting have been fighting for more than three years to win combat pay and medical benefits, which have been denied due to the technical classification of the assault.

 

“Sickens me. Absolutely sickens me. Workplace violence? I don't even know if I have the words to say,” Torey Burnett, who nearly died in the shooting, told NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth. "They don't need to be treated like this. They don't need to sit and fight every day for this benefit or that.”

 

“We're giving the defendant in this case every benefit of the doubt,” Rep. Thomas Rooney (R-Florida) told the NBC affiliate. “But yet we're not giving the benefits to the victims.”

 

Testimony in Hasan’s trial is scheduled to commence on July 1. If convicted, Hasan could receive the death penalty.

-Danny Biederman

 

To Learn More:

Nidal Hasan Has Earned $278,000 in Salary Since the Fort Hood Shooting (by Philip Bump, Atlantic Wire)

Accused Fort Hood Shooter Paid $278,000 While Awaiting Trial (by Scott Friedman, NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth)

A Quarter of Fort Hood Soldiers Seek Mental Health Counseling (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Imam Says Fort Hood Killer Asked about Killing GIs a Year Ago (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

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