FBI Connects Terrorism to Pensacola Shooting

Attacker’s phone encryption broken to reveal al Qaeda link.

The aviation trainee from the Saudi Air Force who killed three American sailors and wounded several others in a terror attack last year on a military base in Pensacola, Florida, was in deep-level connection with al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, FBI Director Christopher Wray reported Monday.

Investigators uncovered the connection after the FBI broke through the encryption protecting the Saudi attacker’s iPhones. Wray said, “We received effectively no help from Apple. We canvassed every partner, and every company, that might have had a solution to access these phones. No one did, despite what some claimed in the media. So we did it ourselves.”

If, as it appears, Asharani was directed or trained by al Qaeda, it would mark the first time since 9/11 that a foreign terrorist organization had done so in a deadly attack in the U.S.

In his news conference, Director Wray said it is a “tragic reminder of just how grave, how imminent, the terrorism threat still is… right here in America.” He credited the “skill and determination” of the men and women of the FBI in accessing the terrorist’s two phones, both of which he had attempted to destroy.

Mohammed Alshamrani, a second lieutenant in the Royal Saudi Air Force who had been training at Naval Air Station Pensacola, was killed by law enforcement during the attack.

As the Lord Leads, Pray with Us…

  • With gratitude for the skill of the computer scientists, engineers and other professionals at the FBI who were able to unlock the terrorist’s iPhones encryption.
  • For the men and women of the FBI deployed around the country and all over the world.
  • About how the seriousness of the ongoing war against terrorism remains, and how vital it is for the FBI to maintain vigilance.

Sources: CNN, Washington Post, FBI


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