U.S. To Expel At Least A Dozen Saudi Military Students After Naval Base Shooting
At least one dozen Saudi military students training in the United States could be returned to Saudi Arabia after the FBI found links to extremist rhetoric, child pornography and a failure to report alarming behavior by the gunman who opened fire at a Florida naval base, according to The Washington Post.
Sources familiar with the matter told The Post that federal law enforcement and military officials will be announcing developments in the case within days, as the FBI moves forward investigating the Pensacola shooting as a terrorist incident.
Investigators found “an anti-American screed posted by the gunman just before the December shooting, according to the people familiar with the matter.” Three people were killed during the incident, and the shooter was killed by law enforcement.
Of those slated for expulsion, some were found to possess child pornography, while others participated in social media discussions involving support for extremism. A few of the individuals also failed to alert authorities to problematic behaviors exhibited by the Pensacola gunman, who was a member of the Royal Saudi Air Force.
Officials “believe the gunman posted a screed on Twitter expressing hatred of U.S. foreign policy and military action,” one law enforcement official told the newspaper.
Spokespersons for the Justice Department and FBI declined to comment for The Post’s story, but Defense Department spokesperson Lt. Col. Robert Carver said: “In the wake of the Pensacola tragedy, the Department of Defense restricted to classroom training programs foreign military students from Saudi Arabia while we conducted a review and enhancement of our foreign student vetting procedures. That training pause is still in place while we implement new screening and security measures.”