I haven't talked much about this week's shooting at Pensacola Naval Air Base in Florida because the investigation is still ongoing and I don't trust the Trump regime when there are Saudi nationals involved, as the suspect appears to be. People did get killed here, and that's a significant story. But with Trump facing impeachment this week, it's very clear that some in the regime wants a "terrorist attack" story to bludgeon Democrats with.
National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien said that Friday's shooting at a naval base in Florida "appears to be a terrorist attack." The gunman was a member of the Saudi Air Force and an aviation student at the base.
"To me, it appears to be a terrorist attack," O'Brien said on "Face the Nation" on Sunday. "I don't want to prejudge the investigation, but it appears that this may be someone that was radicalized, whether it was here or it's unclear if he's got any other ties to other organizations."
The FBI identified the shooter as Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, 21. The gunman opened fire in a classroom at Naval Air Station Pensacola on Friday, killing three sailors and wounding two sheriff's deputies.
Alshamrani was killed after exchanging gunfire with the sheriff's deputies.
President Trump and top law enforcement officials have declined to say whether the shooting was terrorism related. A U.S. official told the Associated Press that Alshamrani and three others watched videos of mass shootings during a dinner party he hosted a dinner party earlier in the week.
O'Brien said the FBI doesn't know if Alshamrani was acting alone, but from what he is seeing in public reports, "this looks like something that's terrorism, or akin to terrorism." The Saudi government, he added, has committed to fully cooperating with the investigation.
"This is a guy who may very well have had said some things on Twitter that suggest he was radicalized," he said. "He went out and killed a number of Americans, so my point is it looks like terrorism."
A second lieutenant in the Royal Saudi Air Force, Alshamrani was a student naval flight officer of Naval Aviation Schools Command.
The Navy identified the three sailors killed in Friday's attack as Joshua Kaleb Watson, 23, Airman Mohammed Sameh Haitham, 19, and Airman Apprentice Cameron Scott Walters, 21.
The problem for Trump is that it's a Saudi "terrorist attack" story, and the Saudis, if they really wanted to hurt Trump right now, could make his life absolutely miserable. He has to proceed carefully. Other Republicans, not so much.
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) said Sunday the deadly shooting at a Navy base in Florida should “inform our ongoing relationship with Saudi Arabia,” calling for an investigation with Saudi cooperation and for greater vetting of U.S.-based Saudi nationals and trainees.
A Saudi aviation student training at Naval Air Station Pensacola shot three people to death on Friday and wounded 11 others before he was killed by police. After the shooting, Gaetz, whose congressional district includes the naval base, called it an “act of terrorism.” Authorities have not confirmed that characterization.
On Sunday, Gaetz said on ABC’s “This Week” that he “directly delivered” a no-tolerance message to the Saudi ambassador to the U.S., Princess Reema bint Bandar, when she offered her condolences. The princess, who condemned the attack on Twitter, assured Gaetz that Saudi intelligence will work with the U.S. government, the congressman said.
“We want no interference from the kingdom as it relates to Saudis that we have,” Gaetz said.
“And if there are Saudis that we do not have that may have been involved in any way in the planning, inspiration, financing or execution of this,” he added, “we expect Saudi intelligence to work with our government to find the people accountable and hold them responsible.”
Well, not too much cooperation, otherwise somebody might figure out Trump and especially Jared Kushner are in deep to the Saudis for billions...