Attorney General Barr Announces Attack on Florida Naval Base 'an Act of Terrorism'


Attorney General William Barr announced Monday that last month’s deadly shooting at Pensacola Naval Air Station in Florida has been ruled “an act of terrorism” that was “motivated by jihadist ideology.”

Barr also told reporters at a news conference at the Justice Department that 21 members of the Saudi Royal Air Force and Royal Navy enrolled in flight training in Pensacola were found to have “derogatory information” in their possession and have been removed from the school.

They were scheduled to return to Saudi Arabia on Monday.

“On Dec. 6, 2nd Lt. Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, a member of the Royal Saudi Air Force, entered a building on the grounds of Pensacola Naval Air Station and killed three U.S. sailors and severely wounded eight other Americans,” Barr said. “Alshamrani was killed during the attack.”

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“This was an act of terrorism,” the attorney general said. “The evidence shows that the shooter was motivated by jihadist ideology.”

As evidence of Alshamrani’s motivation, Barr said the shooter posted a message on social media last Sept. 11 that said: “the countdown has begun.”

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“He also posted other anti-American, anti-Israeli, and jihadi messages on social media, and did so two hours before his attack at the naval base,” Barr said.

The attorney general explained that contrary to early media accounts, Alshamrani did not arrive at the site of the shooting with other Saudi cadets, but came alone.

“Other Saudi cadets happened to be in the area and, after the attack began, they took some videos of the resulting commotion,” Barr said. “They fully cooperated in the investigation, as did the other Saudi cadets who were interviewed by the FBI at Pensacola and at additional bases across the country.”

Barr commended the Saudi government for completely cooperating with the investigation and directing the trainees in the U.S. to do the same.

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Of the 21 cadets ordered by their government to return to Saudi Arabia, 17 had social media containing “some jihadi or anti-American content,” the attorney general said.

Additionally, “15 individuals (including some of the 17 just mentioned) had had some kind of contact with child pornography,” Barr said in his statement.

He also said the FBI recovered two Apple iPhones from the shooter and obtained a warrant to access them, but has not been able to without the passwords.

“So far Apple has not given us any substantive assistance,” Barr said. “This situation perfectly illustrates why it is critical that investigators be able to get access to digital evidence once they have obtained a court order based on probable cause.”

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Randy DeSoto has written more than 2,000 articles for The Western Journal since he joined the company in 2015. He is a graduate of West Point and Regent University School of Law. He is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths" and screenwriter of the political documentary "I Want Your Money."
Randy DeSoto is the senior staff writer for The Western Journal. He wrote and was the assistant producer of the documentary film "I Want Your Money" about the perils of Big Government, comparing the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. Randy is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths," which addresses how leaders have appealed to beliefs found in the Declaration of Independence at defining moments in our nation's history. He has been published in several political sites and newspapers.

Randy graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point with a BS in political science and Regent University School of Law with a juris doctorate.
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Graduated dean's list from West Point
United States Military Academy at West Point, Regent University School of Law
Books Written
We Hold These Truths
Professional Memberships
Virginia and Pennsylvania state bars
Phoenix, Arizona
Languages Spoken
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Entertainment, Faith