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Saudis removing 21 cadets in US after deadly attack at Pensacola base

Royal Saudi Air Force Capt. Mohsen, F-15 Strike Eagle pilot looks over a flight log before a training mission during Red Flag 12-2 Jan. 25, 2012, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Brett Clashman)

Saudi Arabia is removing 21 cadets from military training in the U.S. after an investigation into the shooting rampage that killed three sailors last month at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Fla., Attorney General William Barr said.

Barr said Monday that 17 of the cadets “had social media containing some jihadi or anti-American content” but that “there was no evidence of any affiliation of involvement with any terrorist activity or group.”

The attorney general announced the conclusion of an extensive FBI investigation into the shooting attack by Mohammed Alshamrani, a 21-year-old 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Saudi Air Force.

“This was an act of terrorism,” Barr said at a news conference in Washington on Monday. “The evidence shows that the shooter was motivate by jihadist ideology.”

The attack raised questions about the adequacy of screening for foreign trainees. In addition to jihadist content, Barr said 15 of the trainees “had some kind of contact with child pornography.”

“While one of these individuals had a significant number of such images, all the rest had one or two images, in most cases posted in a chat room by someone else or received over social media,” Barr said.

The FBI also is pressing Apple Inc. to help access data on an iPhone 7 and an iPhone 5 that belonged to Alshamrani. In a continuation of a running fight between the Justice Department and Apple, Barr said the company hasn’t given investigators the assistance they need.


© 2020 Bloomberg News

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