The Department of Defense confirms to NBC 5 Investigates that accused Fort Hood shooter Major Nidal Hasan has now been paid more than $278,000 since the Nov. 5, 2009 shooting that left 13 dead and 32 injured. The Army said under the Military Code of Justice, Hasan’s salary cannot be suspended unless he is proven guilty.
If Hasan had been a civilian defense department employee, NBC 5 Investigates has learned, the Army could have suspended his pay after just seven days.
Personnel rules for most civilian government workers allow for “indefinite suspensions” in cases “when the agency has reasonable cause to believe that the employee has committed a crime for which a sentence of imprisonment may be imposed.”
Meanwhile, more than three years later soldiers wounded in the mass shooting are fighting to receive the same pay and medical benefits given to those wounded in combat.
Retired Army Spc. Logan Burnett, a reservist who, in 2009, was soon to be deployed to Iraq, was shot three times when a gunman opened fire inside the Army Deployment Center.
As that fight continues, Burnett was stunned to see a letter detailing the more $278,000 Hasan has been paid since his arrest. NBC 5 Investigates received the letter from the Department of Defense in response to a request under the Freedom of Information Act.
“There have been times when my wife and I cannot afford groceries. We cannot afford gas in our car,” Burnett said. “Literally, times where we ate Ramen noodles for weeks on end. This [that Hasan is still earning a paycheck] makes me sick to my stomach,” said Burnett.
Burnett isn’t alone in his outrage.
“We’re giving the defendant in this case every benefit of the doubt. But yet we’re not giving the benefits to the victims,” said Rep. Thomas Rooney (R) Florida
Rooney, a former prosecutor at Fort Hood, recently signed a bi-partisan letter urging defense secretary Chuck Hagel to “…reclassify the victims’ deaths and injuries as ‘combat related’…”
“What happened here is not a case of workplace violence. What happened here was an attack on our military by a terrorist element specifically targeting our military, which just so happened to be in the United States of America,” said Rooney.
Reports from the Federal Bureau of Investigation showed Hasan was communicating with a member of Al Qaida prior to the shooting. Additionally, the government’s National Counterterrorism Center lists the shooting at Fort Hood as a “high fatality terrorist attack.”
Rooney said he’s also willing to consider whether Congress should change the rules, so the Army could suspend the pay of soldiers arrested for crimes against fellow soldiers.
NBC 5 Investigates wanted to ask Pentagon officials about Hasan’s pay and the decision to classify the shooting as workplace violence, but the Army turned down requests for an interview. However, the Army’s Chief of Media Relations told NBC 5 Investigates: “The Department of Defense is committed to the integrity of the ongoing court martial proceedings of Major Nidal Hasan and for that reason will not further characterize, at this time, the incident that occurred at Fort Hood on Nov. 5, 2009.”
Burnett, who recently retired from the Army and moved to Arkansas to live with family and save some money, has joined dozens of other Fort Hood victims in a lawsuit against the Army demanding the benefits they believe they’ve been unfairly denied.
“I refuse to continue letting Nidal Hasan win. And I leave the “Major” part out, because even though, unfortunately, he’s still being paid better than I am, he doesn’t deserve that rank,” said Burnett.
A lawyer who once represented Hasan previously claimed his client couldn’t find a bank that would deposit his Army paychecks, but a spokesman at Fort Hood told NBC 5 Investigates that that issue has since been resolved; meaning Hasan or his family can access the money.
The Army could get some money back from Hasan by demanding re-payment for the cost of treating the wounds he sustained when a police officer shot him during the incident. However, military officials would not tell NBC 5 Investigates if they plan to do that.
The Dallas Morning News reported on the pay issue back in 2010, Fort Hood jihadist still gets Army paycheck but has nowhere to put it.
It was also reported that Soldier Ordered to Delete Fort Hood Video Evidence.
And pandering to Islam is deadly serious, Senate report: Army, FBI should have prevented Fort Hood jihad. Of course they didn’t use the word jihad.
Outright betrayal. Video: Obama, Military Break Promises to Soldiers in Fort Hood Attack
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