FBI discovers al Qaeda link in Pensacola Navy base attack

by Jordyn Pair · May 18th, 2020 10:23 am
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The FBI discovered that the Saudi aviation student who killed three people during an attack on a Florida Navy base last year had been in communication with a suspected al Qaeda operative, according to a person familiar with the investigation.

Second Lt. Mohammed Alshamrani was a member of the Saudi air force who was training with the U.S. military. On December 6, he opened fire in a classroom at Naval Air Station Pensacola, killing three and wounding eight. During the attack, Alshamrani criticized U.S. military actions overseas and fired shots at a picture of President Trump.

In the weeks before the attack, Alshamrani said on social media that he blamed the U.S. for crimes against Muslims and warned on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks that "the countdown has started."

Attorney General William Barr called the attack an act of terrorism and pressured Apple to help unlock Alshamrani's iPhones to provide more information about how he was radicalized.

Although Apple did not provide a "substantive assistance" in breaking into the two phones, according to Barr, the FBI was ultimately able to access the information. The FBI found that Alshamrani had communicated with a suspected al Qaeda operative.

Apple said that it provided a "wide variety of information" to law enforcement, including iCloud data and account and transactional information.

🔦 Barr and FBI Director Christopher Wray are expected to give more information during a news conference on Monday.


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