The Federal Bureau of Investigation finally admitted Wednesday that the attack on a Navy center in Chattanooga, Tenn., was “motivated by foreign terrorist propaganda.”
The designation means that the Navy can finally grant Purple Hearts to the families of the five servicemembers who died that day, as well as one survivor, CNN reports.
“This determination allows the Department of the Navy to move forward immediately with the award of the Purple Heart to the families of the five heroes who were victims of this terrorist attack, as well as to the surviving hero, Sgt. Cheeley,” said Navy Secretary Ray Mabus in a statement.
It took the FBI five months to come to the conclusion that Mohammad Abdulazeez, who shot up a military recruiting center and a Navy reserve facility, was inspired by terrorist propaganda. FBI Director James Comey, however, did not mention which terrorist group motivated Abdulazeez to engage in an act of terror. (RELATED: Combat And Purple Hearts: Meet The Four Marines Killed In The Chattanooga Shooting)
From the start, the FBI had been investigating the incident as an act of terror, similar to the recent attacks in San Bernardino, though in the Bernardino case, the Obama administration tried to initially pressure the FBI not to classify the shooting as terrorism, but instead to think of it as workplace violence.
The reason why the FBI came out from under the thumb of the White House was because the attacks were so blatantly terrorist-related that the FBI feared it would totally lose credibility. The shooter, Syed Rizwan Farook, had contact with the Islamic State and other groups.
Back in April, the Army said it would award Purple Hearts to the victims of the shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, which took place in 2009. The Obama administration tried to cover up the shooting as workplace violence. Up until the San Bernardino shootings, the Fort Hood incident, perpetrated by Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan, was the deadliest since 9/11. Hasan openly said during his trial that he fought to defend the Taliban.
An op-ed published in The Washington Times in 2011 characterized the Obama administration’s response to Fort Hood as “a textbook study in denial and cover-up.” Not much has changed since 2011.
GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander from Tennessee issued a statement Thursday, honoring the bravery of the servicemembers who died.
“Five months ago today, a horrific act of terrorism shocked the Chattanooga community, taking the lives of Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan, Staff Sgt. David Wyatt, Sgt. Carson A. Holmquist, Lance Cpl. Squire D. ‘Skip’ Wells, and Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Smith and injuring Sgt. DeMonte Cheeley,” Sen. Alexander said. “They were young men dedicated to serving our country, and today, these heroes are being awarded the Purple Hearts they deserve for their bravery and courage. When I spoke at the July memorial service of those who died, I quoted a poet who said it best: ‘They will never grow old, they will always be young and we know one thing with every bit of our thinking, they’re in the arms of God.’”