May 18, 2020 – In Breaking News – Fox News
After being denied help from Apple, FBI investigators have been able to access the contents of the phones that belonged to the Saudi aviation student who shot and killed three American sailors in December 2019 at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Attorney General Bill Barr said Monday.
Barr said the FBI now has confirmed the shooter had been in contact with Al Qaeda before carrying out the attack.
(During a May 18, 2020 press conference, Attorney General William P. Barr and FBI Director Christopher Wray announced significant developments in the FBI’s investigation of the December 6, 2019 shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola that killed three U.S. sailors and severely wounded eight other Americans. Courtesy of The Justice Department and YouTube. Posted on May 18, 2020.)
The breakthrough surrounding the devices once owned by Mohammed Alshamrani, a 21-year-old 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Saudi Air Force, came as a result of the “relentless efforts and ingenuity of FBI technicians,” Barr said.
“The phones contained information previously unknown to us that definitively establishes Alshamrani’s significant ties to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) — not only before the attack but before he even arrived in the United States,” he said.
“We now have a clearer understanding of Alshamrani’s associations and activities in the years, months, and days leading up to his attack.”
Following the Dec. 6 shooting, the FBI asked Apple for help in accessing data from a pair of iPhones owned by the gunman, as investigators had been unsuccessful in unlocking the devices.
“It was clear at the time that the phones were likely to contain very important information,” Barr said Monday.
(Four people, including the gunman, were killed and eight others were injured in a shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola. CBS News has learned the gunman was Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, a Saudi Arabian national, and a pilot-in-training for the Saudi Air Force. He had been training in the United States since 2017. The FBI is investigating the suspect’s social media posts and whether he acted alone. But investigators have not said what his possible motive might have been. Courtesy of CBS News this Morning. Posted on Dec 7, 2019.)
“Indeed, Alshamrani attempted to destroy both of the phones, even going so far as to disengage from the gunfight long enough to fire a bullet into one of the phones.”
“Unfortunately, Apple would not help us unlock the phones,” he added.
The information eventually recovered from the phones indicated that Alshamrani’s “preparations for terror began years ago,” according to a statement from the Justice Department.
(Officials have yet to determine a motive and are working to determine if 21-year-old Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani acted alone or as part of a network. The victims of the shooting, Mohammed Haitham, Cameron Walters, and Joshua Watson, all received a hero’s farewell. Courtesy of NBC News and YouTube. Posted on Dec 8, 2019.)
“He had been radicalized by 2015, and having connected and associated with AQAP operatives, joined the Royal Saudi Air Force in order to carry out a ‘special operation,'” the Justice Department said.
“In the months before the Dec. 6, 2019 attack, while in the United States, Alshamrani had specific conversations with overseas AQAP associates about plans and tactics.”
“In fact, he was communicating with AQAP right up until the attack, and conferred with his associates until the night before he undertook the murders.”
Continue reading… NAS Pensacola shooter had prior contact with Al Qaeda, FBI says, after finally accessing gunman’s phones
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