US Plans Saudi Expulsions After Pensacola Shooting

Though they aren't accused of anything, at least a dozen servicemen training at base will go
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 12, 2020 11:50 AM CST
Saudi Servicemen Face Expulsion After Base Attack
Air Force Door Attendant Staff Sgt. Siannie Conception closes the door of the transfer vehicle carrying the remains of Ensign Cameron Joshua Kaleb Watson, Seaman Mohammed Sameh Haitham and Seaman Apprentice Cameron Scott Walters last month.   (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

(Newser) – After an FBI investigation, the US is moving to deport more than a dozen Saudi trainees at the Florida base where three Americans were shot to death last month. No one in the group is accused of being involved in the Pensacola attack by a member of the Royal Saudi Air Force, CNN reports, but official suspect some of having ties to extremist groups and supporting extremism in online discussions. Other findings involving the Saudis include possession of child pornography and the failure to report the gunman's concerning behavior before the shooting, per the Washington Post. The Defense Department launched a security review of the 850 Saudi military trainees in the country after the attack, and limited them to classrooms. No one has been charged in the attack, in which the gunman was killed.

The Saudi government has helped with the FBI investigation, including tracing social media accounts. The FBI said in a letter that it had court permission to search two phones owned by the gunman but "unfortunately" has been unable to crack them. It asked Apple for help. Apple answered that it had already provided relevant information from the phones that was in cloud storage. Courts haven't ruled on whether Apple and other companies can be compelled to open their devices for law enforcement. (Flight training was halted for Saudis almost immediately.)

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