Attorney General William Barr announced the long awaited findings of the Criminal Investigation into last month’s Pensacola Naval Air Station shooting on Monday afternoon. There is no doubt, the Attorney General declared, “this was an act of terrorism.”
His investigators interviewed more than 500 people and collected “dozens of terabytes of data.” Apparently, Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani was “inspired” by the 9/11 Terror attack carried out by his Saudi countrymen.
On Dec. 6, 2019, Alshamrani, entered one of the buildings on base grounds. He took a good look around, “casing” the facility, then “proceeded to walk around shooting down his unarmed victims in cold blood.”
The Second Lieutenant in the Royal Saudi Air Force killed three American sailors and severely wounded eight others before he was killed in a firefight.
Amid the 15-minute rampage, Alshamrani “shot at a photo of President Donald Trump as well as a former president,” FBI Deputy Director David Bowdich relates. “He also made statements while he was shooting that were critical of American servicemen overseas.”
The evidence already obtained confirms that “the shooter was motivated by jihadist ideology.” Alshamrani posted a social media message last September 11 announcing “the countdown has begun.”
During the Thanksgiving weekend, he personally visited the 9/11 Memorial in New York City. The 2001 terror strike was orchestrated by Saudi hijackers for the Islamist militant group al Qaeda.
It wasn’t unusual for him to post “anti-American, anti-Israeli, and jihadi messages on social media,” but nobody thought to question it. Investigators determined he posted such propaganda only two hours before he attacked.
The FBI is confident that Alshamrani was working entirely alone, but they’re also still frantically trying to unlock his iPhones.
“Both phones are engineered to make it virtually impossible to unlock them without the password. It is very important to know with whom and about what the shooter was communicating before he died,” Barr observes.
Early reports that the shooter came on the scene along with other Saudi cadets were wrong, Barr noted. Alshamrani came in alone. After the shooting started, Other Saudi’s who happened to be in the area took some videos, and fully cooperated with the probe.
As the tragedy unfolded there were several acts of notable heroism. As Barr explained, “During and after this heinous attack, there were many specific acts of courage.”
Two U.S. Marines, Gunnery Sgt. Ryan Maisel and Staff Sgt. Samuel Mullins, “were outside the building when they heard gunfire and, although unarmed, they ran into the building to confront the shooter. Their only weapon was a fire extinguisher that they had pulled off the wall as they ran toward the gunfire.” Barr added, “who but the Marines?”
The assailant shot Navy Airman Ryan Blackwell five times, “yet Ryan still managed to jump on top of a fellow sailor to keep her from being shot.” Not only that, “He further assisted other students and helped them escape, all while taking additional fire from the shooter. Airman Blackwell’s heroic acts also saved countless lives that day.”
Barr made sure to express gratitude for “the bravery of the base personnel and local law enforcement responders who initially arrived at the scene and engaged the shooter.”
Even though Alshamrani didn’t have help, “21 Saudi cadets were ‘disenrolled from their training curriculum’ in the U.S. military.” They will be heading home on Monday to face justice in Saudi Arabia. Their government assures they will remain available for return to the U.S. if we decide to press any charges against them.
The FBI found that the cadets “either had child pornography or social media accounts containing Islamic extremist or anti-American content.” None of it was worth pressing charges on here, but Saudi Arabia yanked all involved back to the kingdom. They “determined that this material demonstrated conduct unbecoming an officer in the Royal Saudi Air Force and in the Royal Navy.”
Barr defended the foreign military trainee program, calling Saudi Arabia “an important military partner.” Apple, on the other hand, he’s not so sure about.
“We have asked Apple for their help in unlocking the shooter’s iPhones. So far Apple has not given us any substantive assistance.”
He’s using it as an excuse to lobby manufacturers for the encryption back door he’s wanted for a long time. “We call on Apple and other technology companies to help us find a solution so that we can better protect the lives of Americans and prevent future attacks.”