Fort Hood Shooting Victims Sue Federal Gov. for $750 million? in Negligence Claim

The families allege that the military had an obligation to do more.

By Jorge Rivas Nov 14, 2011

Victims and families of those killed in the Fort Hood massacre two years ago are suing the Army, the FBI, and the Justice and Defense departments for $750 million dollars. The lawsuit alleges willful negligence on the part of the government for not recognizing that the man charged in the shootings, Maj. Nidal Hasan, was a threat.

Hasan is charged with killing 13 people and wounding dozens more in the killing spree at a medical building at Fort Hood, Texas, on November 5, 2009.

"Although they had clear knowledge and warnings that Hasan posed a grave danger to the lives and safety of soldiers and civilians with whom he came into contact, they did nothing to eliminate the known risk posed by him," suit alleges, as reported by CNN.

"On the contrary, bowing to ‘political correctness,’ the DOD, DOA (Department of the Army), DOJ, and FBI, in wanton disregard of the safety of military and civilian personnel, intentionally ignored the threat he presented."

A report released earlier this year from the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee found Hasan’s colleagues raised several flags about this mental health and extremist views with some referring to him as a "ticking time bomb."

"In classroom presentations, Hasan repeatedly spoke of violent Islamist extremism instead of medical subjects and justified suicide bombings, said the report, which concluded that Hasan’s superiors failed to discipline him, refer him to counterintelligence officials or seek to discharge him," the Associated Press reported.

Adam Serwer at Mother Jones says the plaintiffs have more than enough material in the public record to make their case that the government was at fault. He points out that Hasan’s superiors may have based their decisions on misguided training they received:

Whether this is due to "political correctness," as the plaintiffs claim, is a different question. The FBI anti-Muslim training materials first revealed by WIRED reporter Spencer Ackerman posited that it was normal for "mainstream" Muslims to express sympathy for terrorists. Anyone getting that kind of information might be inclined to overlook, as Hasan’s superiors did, outright evidence of extremism. That’s why Gen. Jack Keane (Ret.) told the Senate committee in February that "If service members clearly understand the difference between their religion, and the dangerous radicalism of violent Islamist extremism….The patriotic Muslims in our armed services will be protected against unwarranted suspicion."

Read more from Serwer’s story on Mother Jones.