FBI and DOJ release new information on Pensacola base shooter

Published: Jan. 14, 2020 at 12:33 PM EST
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By: WCTV Eyewitness News

January 14, 2020

WASHINGTON —The FBI and Department of Justice reveal more information about the Naval Air Station Pensacola attack by a Saudi national.

US Attorney General, William Barr, says the member of the Royal Saudi Air Force had made anti-American and anti-Israel comments on social media. The gunman posted a message online that read "“the countdown has started,” after visiting the 9/11 memorial in New York.

Barr claims the attack was an "act of terrorism" based on "jihadist ideology."

The FBI Deputy Director, David Bowdich, says the continuing investigation is "incredibly complex." So far it has involved hundreds of FBI personnel including agents from the Jacksonville Field Office, and dozens of partner agencies and entities.

The FBI say they have collected 42 terabytes of digital media as well as conduct 500 interviews.

Bowdich said, “So far, we have not identified any solid evidence that the shooter acted with any co-conspirators or that he was inspired by a specific group.”

Barr says the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been supporting the investigation which has not found evidence of pre-knowledge by the Suadi Royal Air Force or Royal Navy trainees.

Investigators say that they did find 17 other Saudi trainees in Florida that shared jihadi or anti-American sentiments on social media. 15, including some of the 17, had contact with child pornography.

Saudi Arabia pulled 21 students in total from the training program.

Barr said about the students pulled, “The relevant U.S. Attorneys Offices independently reviewed each of the 21 cases involving derogatory information and determined that none of them would, in the normal course, result in federal prosecution.”

The investigators still have one hurdle ahead of them. The gunman left two iPhones at the scene but the FBI Laboratory cannot access them. The FBI and DOJ are asking Apple to cooperate and assist them in breaking the encryption.

“We’re not trying to weaken encryption,” Bowdich said. “After all, data security is a central part of our mission.

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