For the first time, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has publicly used the word "terrorism" to describe last year's attack at Fort Hood Army Base.
In a hearing, Wednesday, Napolitano said "violent Islamic terrorism was part and parcel of the Fort hood killings" by American soldier Nidal Hissan.
"There is violent Islamic terrorism, be it al Qaeda in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen or anywhere else, and that is indeed a major focus of this department and its efforts," she added.
The Obama administration has never openly called Hissan's attacks terrorism. The shooting spree left 13 dead and 30 wounded.
Napolitano denied allegations that the administration is trying to avoid terms like "Islamic extremists" or "Muslim terrorists" when describing attacks on U.S. soil.