The killings have not been ruled terrorism, but tweets criticizing the US were posted about two hours before the shootings at the naval base in Florida on Friday. The rant appears to have gone up on the account belonging to Mohammed Alshamrani, the Saudi aviation student named Saturday night by the FBI as the attacker, USA Today reports.
"We have no reason to believe it is not his," said Rita Katz, director of an intelligence organization that follows jihadist groups. Alshamrani was a second lieutenant in the Royal Saudi Air Force, the FBI said, and was among 852 Saudi nationals training in the US through an agreement between the two countries. Three sailors were killed in the attack, and Alshamrani, 21, was fatally shot by a sheriff's deputy.
The posts on Twitter begin, "O American people," and list purported crimes committed against Muslims, including holding suspects at Guantanamo Bay, as reasons for the writer's hatred of the US. The series mentions no link to any group, Katz said, but reflect Osama bin Laden's demands for supporting Palestinians and for US troops to leave Saudi bases. The Twitter account has been suspended. Other Saudi trainees at the Pensacola base have been questioned, per the BBC, but investigators have not said that they're suspected of involvement in the attack. "Investigation into social media profiles must be a part of the vetting process" for foreign nations in this country, Katz said. (At a dinner party, Alshamrani showed video of mass shootings.)