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 JohnsonRemembering Tom Coburn's quiet persistence Coronavirus pushes GOP's Biden-Burisma probe to back burner GOP seeks up to 0 billion to maximize financial help to airlines, other impacted industries MORE (R-Wis.) and fellow committee members Sens. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) and Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioPompeo: Countries must 'step up,' provide 'transparent' coronavirus information to save lives China did not count coronavirus positives if patient had no symptoms: report Trump seeks to sell public on his coronavirus response MORE (R-Fla.) asked acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad WolfChad WolfDemocratic lawmakers demand government stop deporting unaccompanied children Hillicon Valley: Malicious emails spike amid coronavirus | Real ID deadline delayed one year | Trump officials to limit Huawei's chip access Travel industry hails REAL ID extension, says may need to be longer 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 BarrFeds distributing masks, other gear seized in price-gouging investigation to NY, NJ health care workers The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - All eyes on today's unemployment numbers Trump announces enhanced counternarcotics operation at coronavirus briefing 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.