Florida base shooting: Pentagon restricts foreign trainee access to guns
The move comes after a 21-year-old Saudi officer killed three US sailors at a Florida naval base last month.
The Pentagon has announced new restrictions on international military students' access to guns on US bases, as well as other measures, after a 21-year-old Saudi officer killed three US sailors at a Florida naval base last month.
Mohammed Alshamrani, 21, was a member of the Royal Saudi Air Force who was training at Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida. He was killed by law enforcement during the attack and had a history of airing his anti-American, anti-Israel and jihadi messages views on social media.
Alshamrani had also posted on September 11 stating that "the countdown has begun".
In a statement on Friday, senior Pentagon intelligence official Garry Reid said: "Getting back to work does not mean getting back to business as usual. Going forward we will put several new policies and security procedures in place.”
Reid said all military departments could fully resume training when the new procedures were in place.
What happened on December 6:
During the 15-minute shooting spree in which three US sailors were killed, Alshamrani also shot at a photo of President Donald Trump as well as a former President, according to FBI Deputy Director David Bowdich. He also made statements while he was shooting that were critical of American servicemen overseas.
The incident drew immediate scrutiny to the system of accepting foreign military trainees on US bases.
Later, the US military grounded Saudi pilots and restricted the some 850 visiting Saudi military personnel in the country to classroom training as part of a "safety stand-down" during which time it reviewed vetting procedures.
According to a CNN report, Alshamrani stopped his shooting spree last month long enough to place one of his iPhones on the floor and shoot a bullet into it, Attorney General William Barr said earlier this week.
While experts at the FBI crime lab were able to fix the damaged phone, as well as another phone that the shooter had left in his car, investigators have been unable to get past their passwords despite court-authorized search warrants, Barr said.
The FBI sent Apple a letter asking for its help in unlocking the phones last week.
Barr would not say whether the Justice Department planned to take Apple to court over access to the phones -- as they did in 2016 in a similar case involving a phone owned by the San Bernardino shooter.
Barr said that the FBI had exhausted all other options to try and access the phone, including the use of third party companies.
US President Donald Trump had also slammed Apple Inc. earlier this week claiming that the iPhone maker is refusing unlock phones used by criminals while benefiting from government help on trade.
We are helping Apple all of the time on TRADE and so many other issues, and yet they refuse to unlock phones used by killers, drug dealers and other violent criminal elements. They will have to step up to the plate and help our great Country, NOW! MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 14, 2020
In a statement, Apple had said that it had provided gigabytes of information to law enforcement related to the Pensacola case but that it would not build a “backdoor” or specialized software to give law enforcement elevated access.
Next week, Defense Secretary Mark Esper is due to visit the base in Pensacola, Florida, where the shooting took place and will brief base leadership on the planned changes in vetting and security, the Pentagon said.