Over a dozen Saudi servicemen stationed at U.S. military bases are set to be kicked out of the United States following an inquiry prompted by the deadly shooting at Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida, according to a Saturday evening report. Some of the foreign military members are said to be accused of ties to extremists and possessing child pornography.
The Saudis are not accused of aiding the 21-year-old Saudi Air Force second lieutenant who killed three American sailors in the December shooting, two sources said, but some are said to have connections to extremist movements, according to a person familiar with the situation.
A number are also accused of possessing child pornography, according to a defense official and the person familiar with the situation. Spokespeople for the FBI and Justice Department declined to comment.
About a dozen Saudi trainees at the Pensacola base had been confined to their quarters as the FBI investigated the shooting as a potential terror attack, and the Pentagon initiated a review of all Saudi military trainees in the country, numbering around 850 students.
On December 6th, Mohammed Alshamrani, a second lieutenant in the Saudi Air Force, killed three people and injured eight others after opening fire at the base, a gun-free zone. Alshamrani is believed to have posted the phrase “the countdown has started” on his social media accounts on September 11, 2019, and also reportedly described non-Muslims as “infidels.”
The Saudi national, who was killed during his rampage by a sheriff’s deputy, had also reportedly criticized U.S. military action.
“He basically is saying the same thing that many terrorists before him has said, that the U.S. is the enemy because they attack Muslims overseas or they help other countries attack Muslims overseas. And that’s their justification to attack us,” former FBI agent Brad Garrett said.
The Department of Justice is expected to rule that the shooting was “terrorism,” one U.S. official told CNN.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has said Saudi Arabia, which has pledged its full support over the shooting, will “owe a debt” to victims of a deadly attack.
“One of the things I talked to [President Donald Trump] about is, given this is a foreign national and employee of a foreign service, is … The government of Saudi Arabia needs to make things better for these victims,” De Santis told reporters at the time. “I think they’re gonna owe a debt here given that this is one of their individuals.”