Grabien: In November 2009, Nidal Hassan killed 13 people at the Fort Hood army post, shouting — per witnesses — ‘Allah Akbar’ during his indiscriminate rampage. Despite the subsequent investigation turning up Hassan’s ties to terrorists, the Obama Administration labeled the atrocity “workplace violence” — as opposed to terrorism. Critics charged this was a politically calculated decision that would allow President Obama to claim no domestic terror attacks occurred on his watch (the “workplace violence” decision also resulted in the victims, and their families, being denied the usual benefits afforded to members of the U.S. military subject to enemy attack).
Almost as soon as police killed the San Bernardino gunmen, a profile began to emerge of radicalized Muslims committing an act of terror. Yet Obama, speaking the following day, emphasized the possibility of “workplace violence”:
It is possible that this was terrorist related. But, we don’t know. It’s also possible that this was workplace related. And until the FBI has been able to conduct what are going to be a large number of interviews until we understand the nature of the workplace relationship between the individual and his superiors, because he worked with the organization where this terrible shooting took place. Until all the social media and electronic information has been exploited, we’re just not going to be able to answer those questions.
In a subsequent White House press conference, Press Secretary Josh Earnest was asked about the many pieces of information leading to a conclusion of Islamist terror. Earnest said because the attack occurred at the killer’s place of work, it’s still possible this was a workplace violence incident.
On Friday, Earnest was again asked whether the White House was ready to “concede” this was a terrorist attack or whether they were keeping open the possibility of “workplace” violence. Earnest maintained it was still too early to rule anything out.
Less than an hour later, the FBI announced the massacre was being investigated as “an act of terrorism.”