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© AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General William Barr leaves a news conference after speaking to reporters at the Justice Department in Washington, Monday, Jan. 13, 2020, to announce results of an investigation of the shootings at the Pensacola Naval Air Station in Florida.
Attorney General William Barr said Monday that the Saudi Arabian shooter at Naval Air Station Pensacola was "motivated by Jihadist ideology."

Barr says 21 Saudi military students are being removed from the US training program and returning home.

Barr and FBI Deputy Director David Bowdich announced the findings of the criminal investigation in a press conference at the Department of Justice.

Accused shooter 21-year-old Mohammed Alshamrani, a 2nd LT in the Royal Saudi Air Force, allegedly killed three U.S. sailors and injured several others. Authorities say the attack ended with a sheriff's deputy killing the shooter.

Many of the 21 cadets being sent home had contact with child pornography and possessed jihadist or anti-American material, Barr said. None is accused of having advanced knowledge of the shooting, which Barr said was motivated by "jihadist ideology" and has been classified as an act of terrorism.

Officials have said Alshamrani hosted a party before the shooting, where he and others watched videos of mass shootings. The gunman had also apparently taken to Twitter before the shooting to criticize U.S. support of Israel and accuse America of being anti-Muslim, another U.S. official told the AP last month.

The Saudi Embassy released a statement on the Pensacola expulsions:
Following the conclusion of the investigation by US law enforcement authorities into the shooting incident at Pensacola Naval Air Station on December 6, 2019 involving a Royal Saudi Air Force cadet, the official spokesperson of the Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Washington would like to stress the following points: The disturbed and radicalized individual who carried out this terrible attack acted alone. He does not represent the hundreds of thousands of Saudis who have lived, studied and trained in the United States over the past several decades, nor does his heinous act represent the values of Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia has fully cooperated with American investigators looking into the motivations of the attacker. Saudi Arabia will continue to cooperate with US authorities should they require additional information. In addition, the Kingdom has determined that 21 cadets have demonstrated conduct unbecoming of an officer in the Saudi Royal Air Force or Royal Navy and therefore have been unenrolled from their training program in the U.S. military. They will be returning to the Kingdom. It is worth noting that the military training that the US provides to Saudi military personnel has enabled Saudi soldiers, pilots and sailors to fight along their American counterparts and against our common foes. The close cooperation between the two nations on intelligence matters and issues related to counter terrorism has saved the lives of many in the US, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere and has made the world a safer place. Approximately 28,000 Saudis have undergone military training in the US over the course of several decades without incident. Saudi Arabia has been at the forefront of the international community's effort to counter terrorist groups for many years. The kingdom has used every means at its disposal to counter the men, mindset and money that allow Al Qaeda, ISIS and other terrorist groups to recruit followers and to threaten communities and even entire nations.
In addition, the terrorists who have struck the US and many other nations have also targeted Saudi Arabia's people, leadership, military personnel and even our holiest religious institutions in Mecca and Medina on multiple occasions. Violent extremists continue to pose a serious challenge to the security of the United States, Saudi Arabia and most countries around the world. Terror groups have recruited thousands of people from dozens of countries. The kingdom has worked closely with the US to counter this global threat. Finally, close to a million Saudis have come to the US for their education, training and other reasons over several decades. The overwhelming majority of them are law-abiding citizens who view themselves as unofficial ambassadors of the kingdom. Many consider the United States as a second home and treat their American colleagues, classmates and neighbors as an extended part of their family. Thousands of them took to social media to condemn the attacker and to extend their condolences to Americans, as did our leadership and our ambassador to the United States.
Alshamrani, who was killed by a sheriff's deputy during the rampage at a classroom building, was undergoing flight training at Pensacola, where foreign military members routinely receive instruction.

It was not immediately clear on what grounds the students were being removed from the program, though the official said they were not suspected of having played any role in the attack. The precise number of students being removed was also not clear. The officials discussing the case spoke on condition of anonymity to speak about details involved in an ongoing investigation.

The plan to remove the students was first reported by CNN.

The December shooting raised questions about how well international military students are screened before they attend training at American bases. Some lawmakers, including a top Republican ally of President Donald Trump, have called for Saudi Arabia to be suspended from an American military training program.

Trump called for the program to be reviewed. But Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said the program needed to be reevaluated after the attack.

A Saudi commanding officer had ordered all students from the country to remain at one location at the base after the attack.

National security adviser Robert O'Brien said in an interview on Fox News that the shooting "showed that there had been errors in the way that we vetted" the students. The actions being taken by the Justice Department and Defense Department to remove the Saudi students are to "protect our servicemen and women," he said.

Federal officials are still investigating the shooting and examining evidence. Earlier this week, the FBI asked Apple to help extract data from two iPhones that belonged to the gunman.


Investigators have been trying to access the two devices — an iPhone 7 and an iPhone 5 — but have been unable to access them because the phones are locked and encrypted, according to a letter from the FBI's general counsel, Dana Boente. The FBI has received a court authorization to search the phones and the devices have been sent to the bureau's lab in Quantico, Virginia, he said.

The investigation is considered a "high-priority national security matter," Boente said in the letter.

FBI officials have sought help from other federal agencies and other experts, and investigators have been trying to guess the passwords, but those efforts have been unsuccessful, according to the letter.

Apple said in a statement that it has already provided investigators with all the relevant data held by the company and would continue to support the investigators.

At least one of the phones was shot by a sheriff's deputy during the attack, but investigators believe they may still be able to extract data from the device, according to a person familiar with the matter. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation.

Following the news conference, Sen. Rick Scott released this statement:
I'm glad federal officials are taking steps to make our bases safer, including sending a number of potentially dangerous individuals back to their home country. This is a positive step, but more must be done when it comes to addressing the failures in this program that led to the tragic terrorist attack at NAS Pensacola. Given the FBI's confirmation that a number of Saudi nationals engaged in troubling conduct, it's clear we need a hard reset. I'm calling on the Saudi government to recall all Saudi nationals training in the U.S. back to their home country until the Department of Defense can conduct a full review of the program. I will continue to work with Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Inhofe and administration officials to get to the bottom of exactly what went wrong so we can figure out if these training programs are safe to continue.
Rep. Matt Gaetz took to Twitter to address the press conference Monday.