News & Politics

More Than a Dozen Saudi Servicemen Training in U.S. Will Be Expelled

A vehicle drives by a tribute to victims of the Naval Air Station Pensacola that was freshly painted on what’s known as Graffiti Bridge in downtown Pensacola, Fla., on Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Brendan Farrington)

CNN has learned that more than a dozen Saudi Arabian military personnel will be expelled from the U.S. following a Pentagon review that discovered some of them had ties to extremist groups.

The expulsions are the result of the deadly shooting at Pensacola Naval Air Station last month where 3 people were killed and 8 others wounded.

Some of the Saudi nationals are also accused of possessing child pornography.

“In the wake of the Pensacola tragedy, the Department of Defense restricted to classroom training programs foreign military students from Saudi Arabia while we conducted a review and enhancement of our foreign student vetting procedures,” said Lt. Col. Robert Carver, a spokesman for the Department of Defense. “That training pause is still in place while we implement new screening and security measures.”

What kind of “screening and security measures” did they employ in the first place? And while we’re on the subject, what were the Saudis doing sending us people with ties to extremist groups?

Meanwhile, a little more light has been shed on the shooter, Mohammed Saeed Alshamran.

Fox News:

The gunman, identified as Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, was believed to have acted alone. He is said to have become angered when an instructor at Pensacola referred to him as “Porn Stash,” comparing his mustache to that of a stereotype of an actor in pornography films, The New York Times reported.

More clues might be found in the gunman’s iPhones if Apple, Inc. will assist the investigation.

Meanwhile, the FBI has asked Apple for help in accessing data from a pair of iPhones owned by the gunman.

Investigators are hoping that data stored on the phone may help them learn more about a possible motive behind the killings.

Apple has previously resisted efforts by government authorities to access phone customers’ data, citing a company commitment to its customers’ privacy. But Apple told Fox News it is cooperating in the Pensacola investigation.

“We have the greatest respect for law enforcement and have always worked cooperatively to help in their investigations,” the Apple statement said. “When the FBI requested information from us relating to this case a month ago we gave them all of the data in our possession and we will continue to support them with the data we have available.”

The incident brings to mind the way that security was handled pre-9/11 — almost 20 years ago. Since then, the tools available to law enforcement and security services have vastly improved while barriers between agencies that are supposed to share information have supposedly been removed.

But here we are again in a recurring nightmare with Saudi students infiltrating the United States in order to kill Americans.

It’s clear that some of the same people who may have been responsible for not picking up on the 9/11 attacks may have dropped the ball again — and for some of the same reasons.