The White House waited five days after the shooting rampage that killed five servicemen in Chattanooga, Tenn., before lowering the flags on federal buildings to half-staff.

It took the administration more than five years to describe the 2009 Fort Hood massacre as domestic terrorism rather than "workplace violence" and grant the victim purple hearts, a designation of honor reserved for combat deaths.

Critics say both delays demonstrate a lukewarm, less-than-urgent response from President Obama to the domestic terror threat amid a surge in Islamic terror activity over the last year, which has seen the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and the group's barbaric march across the Middle East. The flap over the flag quickly became the latest example of how the White House is slow to react to these events when they happen.

Asked why the White House waited five days after the Chattanooga shootings to lower the flags on federal building, and only after Congress had already done so, a spokesman said he didn't have a good explanation.

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