Sources say more than a dozen Saudi servicemen training at US military installations will be expelled in wake of shooting in Pensacola.
More than a dozen Saudi servicemen training at US military installations will be expelled from the United States after a review that followed the deadly shooting last month at a Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida, multiple sources told CNN on Saturday.
The Saudis in question are not accused of aiding the 21-year-old Saudi Air Force second lieutenant who killed three American sailors in the December shooting, two sources said, but some are said to have connections to extremist movements, according to a person familiar with the situation.
The FBI and Justice Department declined to comment.
The US Navy paused the training of hundreds of Saudi Arabian aviation students at several training locations following the deadly shooting.
“In the wake of the Pensacola tragedy, the Department of Defense restricted to classroom training programs foreign military students from Saudi Arabia while we conducted a review and enhancement of our foreign student vetting procedures,” Lt. Col. Robert Carver, a spokesman for the Department of Defense, said on Saturday, according to CNN.
“That training pause is still in place while we implement new screening and security measures.”
About a dozen Saudi trainees at the Pensacola base had been confined to their quarters as the FBI investigated the shooting as a potential terror attack, and the Pentagon initiated a review of all Saudi military trainees in the country, numbering around 850 students.
The Justice Department is expected to conclude that the Pensacola shooting was in fact an act of terrorism, a US official told CNN.
No co-conspirators have been charged as part of the investigation, and the Saudi government has pledged its full support.
The FBI said immediately after the shooting it is believed the shooter acted alone and that motive for the shooting was not yet established, though it added it was working, as it does in most mass shootings, on the presumption that it was an act of terrorism.