FBI: Al Qaeda tied to Pensacola shooting

U.S. & World

(NBC News)  Federal investigators say they now have clear evidence Al Qaeda was involved in the December shooting at Pensacola Naval Air Station.

“We know for example that he was sharing plans and tactics with them,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said of the gunman.  “We know that he was coordinating with them and providing an opportunity for them to take credit for the attack.” 

Three people were killed and eight others wounded before police killed gunman Mohammed Alshamrani, a Saudi Air Force officer at the base for military training.

At the time the FBI highlighted his social media posts, including one from September 11th that says: “The countdown has started.”

That was followed by a string of anti-American, anti-Israeli and jihadist messages, the last one just two hours before the attack.

Looking for more information, agents focused on two cell phones Alshamrani tried to destroy during his shooting spree.  The FBI and Department of Justice say the manufacturer, Apple, refused to help investigators unlock the phones.

“Apple’s decision has dangerous consequences for the public safety and the national security, and is in my judgment unacceptable,” U.S Attorney General William Barr said. 

Apple has said repeatedly they have provided data and information to investigators. 

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