To date, preparations for the trial of accused Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan have cost the government at least $278,000 — and that's just in the salary that Hasan received since the 2009 massacre.
NBC's Dallas affiliate, KXAS, reports that Hasan, who at the time of the shooting was working as an Army psychiatrist, has continued to receive his salary for the past 42 months.
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.
Despite those apparent details, however, the government doesn't classify the event as an act of combat or terror. According to the government, the shooting was "workplace violence" — meaning that the injured aren't entitled to additional pay or Purple Heart designations. Several members of Congress have written to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, asking for the event to be redesignated.
A number of the victims of the attack report that they were made personal promises by senior government officials that they and their family members would be “well taken care of” and that the “government will make [them] whole.” We believe that in the aftermath of the terrorist attack at Fort Hood … the decision to deem the incident “workplace violence” was an irresponsible, indefensible breach of our nation’s sacred pledge to our service members.
The Congressmembers also accuse Defense of kowtowing to "political correctness" in not designating the attack as a terror attack.
It's not likely that the KXAS report will result in Hasan losing his salary. For one thing, the stipulation that he continue receiving his salary stems from the Uniform Code of Military Justice. For another, Hasan receiving his salary was first reported back in 2011 by the ABC affiliate near Fort Hood. The commander of the facility explained the rationale.
Campbell said it's all part of the judicial process that says Hasan is innocent until proven guilty.
"The bottom line is when you cut through everything we are as an army, we have to be fair to him regardless of what we saw or we think we saw or whatever the case may be. It's imperative we maintain the integrity of the court martial so he gets as fair a shot as possible defending himself with his team," Campbell added.
Testimony in the trial will finally begin on July 1. By then, the salary Hasan has received since his arrest will likely top $290,000.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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