FBI Finds Link Between Pensacola Gunman and al-Qaida

FBI Finds Link Between Pensacola Gunman and al-Qaida

FBI Finds Link Between Pensacola Gunman and al-Qaida

Apple on Monday responded to accusations by the U.S. Justice Department that it didn't do enough to unlock the Penascola shooter's iPhones, decrying "false claims" made by the Department of Justice.

"Among other steps we've taken, just a moment ago you heard the attorney general describe the recent counterterrorism operation targeting Abdullah al-Maliki, one of the overseas AQAP operatives that Alshamrani associated with while here in the U.S".

Attorney General William Barr and FBI Director Chris Wray held a news conference to announce the developments in the probe into the shooting late past year at the Pensacola Naval Air Station, in which a Saudi Air Force officer killed three USA sailors and injured eight other people.

The Navy announced on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019, that flight training has been suspended for about 175 Saudi Arabian students in the wake of a shooting at the base on Friday that killed three sailors and injured eight others.

The FBI director added that al-Shamrani did not radicalize after arriving in the United States but was radicalized at least as early as 2015 and, in the following years, engaged in consistent communication with top AQAP operatives.

This is a developing story and will be updated with more information.

The decades-old US-Saudi training program has been crucial to the close relationship, with thousands of Saudis undergoing military training in the United States.

Barr called on Congress to take action forcing Apple and other tech companies to help law enforcement agencies get through encryption during criminal investigations.

Attorney General William Barr was expected to publicly discuss the discovery during an 11 a.m. news conference on Monday. "In cases like this, where the user is a terrorist, or in other cases where the user is a violent criminal, a human trafficker, a child predator, Apple's decision has risky consequences for the public safety and the national security and is in my judgment unacceptable".

During the shooting, Alshamrani fired at his iPhone.

"We now have a clearer understanding of Alshamrani's associations and activities in the years, months and days leading up to his attack", Mr Barr said. "They were Airman Mohammed Same Haitham, Ensign Joshua Kaleb Watson, and Airman Cameron Scott Walters". A month before the December 6, 2019, shooting, Alshamrani was communicating with overseas AQAP associates about plans and tactics and was communicating with the terrorist group up until the night before the shooting.

The expelled Saudi students were found to have had jihadist material and indecent images of children in their possession, investigators have said, but none were accused of aiding the killer.

Barr said at the time that Saudi Arabia had agreed to review the conduct of all 21 to see if they should face military discipline and to send back anyone the USA later determines should face charges.

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