The FBI’s ongoing investigation into the terrorist attack on NAS Pensacola is apparently running into some interference from the Saudi Arabian government.
At least 10 of the Saudi students are being held on base while there is an intensive search for several others who are missing.
In the days since the attack, a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity after being briefed by federal authorities told the Associated Press that a total of 10 Saudi students were being held on the base as of Saturday while several others were unaccounted for.
While officials have not publicly disclosed how many missing servicemen are out there, U.S. Northern Command (Northcom) has called for increased random security checks at all sites as authorities investigating the attack are still working to determine whether the shooting was an act of terrorism.
Senator Rick Scott is hinting that cooperation from the Saudi government has been less than ideal, despite promises to the contrary.
Scott said Sunday that while Saudi Arabia has been an ally, “they have to step up here,” calling reports of the dinner party and viewing of mass shooting videos “disgusting.”
“The fact that the FBI has not been able to, the reports say, the FBI has not been able to talk to every airman. I mean, I can’t imagine that,” he said on “Fox & Friends.” “If the Saudi government is our ally our partner, they will make sure that there is full cooperation, not one airman needs to leave this country until the complete investigation.”
The missing students may be guilty of nothing, except fear of a backlash by their fellow trainees. Nevertheless, the fact that they are avoiding talking to authorities about what they know is deeply disturbing.
And what’s with the Saudi government? They are taking advantage of the American legal system when, if the terror attack had occurred in their country, those airmen would be forced to talk and probably not very gently.
Meanwhile, no one knows if another attack is planned or not.
In the weeks leading up to the shooting, Alshamrani and the same three other Saudi military trainees made a visit to New York City where they went to several museums and Rockefeller Center, a person briefed on the investigation told the New York Times.
Federal investigators are now focused on whether the trip was an extended tourist trip during the Thanksgiving holiday week or if the group of Saudi trainees had other motives or were meeting with anyone else in New York, according to The Times. Of the 10 Saudi trainees reportedly detained, three of them are the ones from the dinner party who claimed they were only filming the shooting because they happened to be there at the time and wanted to capture the moment, the U.S. official told the New York Times.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper told Fox News, “You know, today, people pull out their phones and film everything and anything that happens.” That may be. But it’s a startling coincidence that 3 of the trainees who attended the dinner party showing videos of mass killings were on hand to witness the shooting.
Esper is being overly cautious in calling this a “terrorist attack.” As a U.S. government official, it’s his responsibility not to speculate too much.
But enough evidence has been released to the public showing a terror motive that the rest of us aren’t constrained by our positions to refrain from identifying jihad when we see it.