Saudi shooter in Florida air base attack had “significant ties” to al Qaeda

The gunman was identified as 21-year-old Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, a Saudi national who was training at Naval Air Station Pensacola. program to train members of the Royal Saudi Air Force. Saudi shooter in Florida air base attack had “significant ties” to al Qaeda, Barr says

By Stefan Becket, Clare Hymes

Updated on: May 18, 2020 / 7:51 PM
/ CBS News

Pensacola shooter had links to al Qaeda

Washington — The FBI and Department of Justice said a Saudi gunman who killed three U.S. He opened fire inside a classroom on December 6, 2019, killing three and wounding eight others before being shot and killed.At a press conference Monday, Attorney General William Barr said the FBI was able to gain access to Alshamrani’s iPhones, which the gunman had tried to destroy during the attack. Neither Barr nor Wray revealed details about how the FBI was ultimately able to gain access to the phones four months after the attack. The program was suspended in the aftermath of the shooting, and an earlier Justice Department investigation found 21 Saudi trainees possessed “derogatory material” including jihadist or anti-American content on their social media profiles and were sent back to the kingdom.Andres Triay contributed reporting. The phones contain information previously unknown to us that definitively establishes Alshamrani’s significant ties to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula — not only before the attack, but before he even arrived in the United States,” Barr said, referring to the terrorist group’s affiliate in Yemen, known as AQAP. The group claimed responsibility for the attack in February. Trending News

Where’s my stimulus check? The company said it doesn’t store users’ passcodes and doesn’t have the ability to unlock protected devices, while reiterating its opposition to the creation of a so-called “backdoor” to allow law enforcement to access encrypted data. Answers to common questions

Millions of Americans to get stimulus money via prepaid cards

Video shows officer trying to tase Ahmaud Arbery in 2017

Man who downplayed virus warns others after getting sick

Oregon coronavirus restrictions kept in place, for now

“The FBI finally succeeded in unlocking Alshamrani’s phones. “It’s important that Americans not get complacent because the threat is real, it’s still here and we’re determined to thwart it,” Wray said. Barr said in January that the shooting was an act of terrorism but that Alshamrani acted alone during the attack itself.Alshamrani was a cadet in a U.S. Barr says Saudi shooter in Florida attack had “significant ties” to al Qaeda

Data on iPhones is encrypted, and they’re designed so only the owner can unlock the device if it’s protected with a passcode. Barr said the effort to access the phones “took over four months and large sums of taxpayer dollars to obtain evidence that should have been easily and quickly accessible when we obtained court orders.”In a statement later Monday, Apple said it gave the FBI information “just hours after the attack,” including account details, transaction data and iCloud backups. Barr said the Justice Department and the president himself asked Apple for help in gaining access to the devices, but the company “would not help us unlock the phones.””There’s a lot we can’t do at this point that we could have done, months ago,” Wray added. “It is because we take our responsibility to national security so seriously that we do not believe in the creation of a backdoor — one which will make every device vulnerable to bad actors who threaten our national security and the data security of our customers,” the Apple statement said. service members in an attack at a Navy air station in Florida last December had “significant ties” to al Qaeda, citing new evidence gleaned from iPhones the FBI was able to unlock after months of trying. “There is no such thing as a backdoor just for the good guys, and the American people do not have to choose between weakening encryption and effective investigations.”Wray said evidence “shows that the Pensacola attack was actually the brutal culmination of years of planning and preparation by a longtime AQAP associate.” The attorney general said the information gleaned from Alshamrani’s devices provided intelligence that led to a recent strike on an AQAP leader in Yemen.Wray said the evidence from Alshamrani’s phones did not reveal any other current threats in the U.S., but said the investigation is going. First published on May 18, 2020 / 10:34 AM