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Fort Hood shootings were terrorism, says Senate Armed Services Committee chair Carl Levin

Sen. Carl Levin, the Michigan Democrat who heads the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee, which will investigate the deadly Ft. Hood shootings, calls them an act of terrorism.

Although some officials, including fellow Democrat President Obama in the early post-shooting hours, have urged caution in characterizing the shocking shootings that caused the deaths of 13 and wounding of 29 on the Texas Army base, Levin tells C-SPAN's "Newsmakers" program in a taped interview, "It sure looks like that." Nidal Malik Hasan, accused Ft. Hood shooter

Levin has already been briefed by investigators.

The Ticket has obtained video excerpts (see below) of the cable program to be broadcast Sunday at 7 a.m. Pacific time (10 a.m. Eastern).

Today the man accused of the Nov. 5 killings, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, will undergo a pretrial confinement hearing in Killeen, Texas, at his bedside in a heavily guarded hospital room.

The precise schedule for the unusual hearing is unannounced for security reasons, but prosecutors seek a judicial ruling that their existing pretrial confinement is appropriate. They have announced they will seek the death penalty in this case.

Hasan's civilian attorney, John Galligan, says he will argue that proceedings are moving too hastily.

On the C-SPAN video, Levin says the Armed Services Committee is undergoing briefings by military investigators and has two more scheduled. When they are completed, he says, he will schedule full Senate committee hearings on the military aspect of the deadly fusillade that broke out on the military base and shocked the nation with soldiers being killed allegedly by another soldier, a Muslim officer.

Americans themselves apparently have mixed feelings over characterizing the rampage as terrorism. A Fox News poll released Friday found that 49% of those interviewed preferred to describe the incident as "a killing spree" and that 44% thought "act of terrorism" was more accurate.

The older the respondent, the more likely he or she was to call it terrorism.

Forty-five percent believe the outburst involved the shooter mentally snapping, and 38% consider him a Muslim extremist protesting American foreign policies.

Levin said his committee would be careful in its hearing to avoid complicating either the military investigation or the upcoming prosecution. But he said he intends to pursue all leads, including such questions as why e-mails between Hasan and a radical Muslim cleric in Yemen were not taken more seriously by federal anti-terrorism investigators who knew of them before Nov. 5.

But even before those hearings, Levin added, "I'm not uncomfortable with thinking that's [terrorism] the likely outcome here and a likely accurate description."

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo credit: U.S. Army

Comments () | Archives (12)

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Hang em high

While the investigation process must still be carried to its conclusion, it is somewhat reassuring to see that Sentator Levin is willing to push politics aside and provide his opinion on what this horrific act was ... one of terrorism.

oy-vey....Leivin and Lieberman, sounds like a law firm in the making to me?
What happened was a crime, stop trying to make it in to yet another war on terror, like 911, it was a criminal act perpetrated by no governmant with its army, what does Levin and Lieberman et all propose?
A coordinated frontal assault on muslim doctors through out the globe next?
The Army has the UCMJ ( Uniform Code of Military Justice ) that can adjudicate this just fine.
This was a terrible act to be sure, sympathy to all thus affected by it.

100% terroist act. no different than 9/11. the man should be swiftly tried and executed.

"Terrorism"? A crazy guy targeting uniformed military personnel? So what is "warfare"? A uniformed soldier operating a drone missile in Colorado used to kill civilians in Pakistan?

Can we all agree that this was an American terrorist??? Senator Levin is making a bold statement. I'm sure it has nothing to do with the fact Nidal Malik Hasan is Muslim. Why wasn't the man in Ohio, who killed 12+ people considered a terrorist?? He caused terror in that part of Ohio,yet he isn't been charged as a terrorist. Why can't the CIA be labeled a terrorist organization. They cause terror in other countries, just because it is not covered by the media does not mean that they aren't out in Iran causing trouble.

You can't just call it terrorism just because the guy is Muslim. How does this meet the definition of terrorism? He wasn't doing it out of some political goal to cause fear to the population to change policy, and he wasn't targeting civilians/non-combatants. I'm not defending the scumbag, just saying he's not a terrorist.

Terrorism is just a word. I don't think that he is a terrorist. May be he is just mad man.

If you think the Fort Hood activity was an act of Terrorism
what about the following ....

Here are some definitions of Terrorism based upon actions taken.

1. Political Cultist who try to achieve goals through violence.
2. Local Gangs or individuals that try to achieve their goals through violence.
3. Verbal actions by individuals or gangs that lead to violence.
4. Religious Groups that make statements that lead to violence.
5. Drug Cartels and their members or individuals that are involved with any of the following … grow, manufacture, distribute, kill, kidnap or sell their product to the people in this country … are committing acts of Terrorism.
6. Any Cultist group who try to achieve goals through violence.
7. Non-Citizens who take over an airplane and run it into our buildings.

What about treating the above actions as acts of Terror?

He killed American soldiers in Allah's name. That is not terrorism? By whose definition? We now charge and prosecute anyone for terrorist acts. School children are charged with terrorist acts for shouting at other children. Any threat of violence is now called a hate crime or a terrorist act, but you leftist loons think killing over a dozen American soldiers is what, an act of peace? You have been listening to the "Great One" for too long!

Yes to Carl Levin down with Political Correctness!
It seems that everyone suffers from PC- like U.S. Military, Christian's, Jews etc.
everyone except Muslim and terrorist!!!!

This story has dropped off the radar.

It would be interesting to see a follow up piece on how this is proceeding, changes the military has put in place and how Fort Hood has moved beyond this.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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