Senators press DHS over visa approval for Pensacola naval base shooter

Senators press DHS over visa approval for Pensacola naval base shooter
© Aaron Schwartz

Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonSenate braces for fight over impeachment whistleblower testimony Father of Parkland shooting victim calls on Congress to take action Senators to meet with Zelensky after impeachment trial MORE (R-Wis.) and fellow committee members Sens. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) and Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioPeace Corps' sudden decision to leave China stirs blowback Lawmakers raise concerns over Russia's growing influence in Venezuela USDA takes heat as Democrats seek probe into trade aid MORE (R-Fla.) asked acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad WolfChad WolfDHS gives New York the red light for state's green light law DHS considered multiple ways to retaliate against 'sanctuary' states: report New York sues Trump administration over Trusted Traveler ban MORE for further details on the process by which a Saudi national who killed three people at a Pensacola, Fla., naval base was able to obtain a visa to participate in military training in the U.S.

“On December 6, 2019, Ahmed Mohammed al-Shamrani, a Saudi Arabian national here in the United States on an A-2 visa for military training, killed three people and injured eight at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida. On January 13, 2020, Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrA tale of two lies: Stone, McCabe and the danger of a double standard for justice Judge in Roger Stone case orders Tuesday phone hearing Sunday shows - Spotlight shines on Bloomberg, stop and frisk MORE described this attack as ‘an act of terrorism’ and referred to evidence that ‘the shooter was motivated by jihadist ideology,’ ” the three wrote in a letter Wednesday.

“According to other reports, the Saudi government allegedly believes that al-Shamrani may have embraced a radical Islamist ideology as early as 2015, two years before he entered the United States. Just before his attack, al-Shamrani visited the 9/11 Memorial in New York City,” they add.

In the letter, the three ask for a timeline of al-Shamrani’s nonimmigrant visa vetting process, the specific vetting actions conducted, whether he was interviewed by U.S. officials and whether the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was made aware of any documents provided by the Saudi government indicating terrorist sympathies.

The letter also requests information on how many A visa holders were refused entry by Customs and Border Protection and how many of those refusals were Saudi nationals, as well as details on DHS monitoring of visiting foreign military personnel’s social media and any such monitoring conducted in al-Shamrani’s case.