852? Pentagon suspends hundreds of Saudis from flight training

by WorldTribune Staff, December 11, 2019

Following the deadly terror attack by a Saudi student at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida, the Pentagon has suspended 852 Saudi military students from flight training, raising questions about the vetting process that allowed their admission.

Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani

The Saudi students will be immediately confined to classroom training, while all operational training in the air, land, and sea “will pause,” Pentagon officials said.

Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, a 21-year-old aviation student from Saudi Arabia, killed three military members and injured eight others in a terror attack at Naval Air Station Pensacola on Friday. Police shot and killed Alshamrani.

Navy Commander Clay Doss did not indicate how long the flight stand-down for Saudi students would continue. U.S. officials told Fox News that the Saudi government has agreed to the Pentagon’s decision.

Some 5,000 international military trainees are located inside the United States. In addition to Saudi Arabia, the trainees are from all 29 NATO nations as well as other allies and partners.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper has directed the undersecretary of defense for intelligence to “take immediate steps to strengthen personal vetting” for international military students.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Sunday said the investigation was proceeding under “the presumption that this was an act of terrorism.” He urged stronger security “precautions” for foreign nationals training on U.S. military bases.
“To have this individual be able to take out three of our sailors, to me that’s unacceptable,” DeSantis said.

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