Northwest Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz says his theories on the mass shootings N.A.S. Pensacola have been proven by information gleaned by the F.B.I. from the smart phones of Saudi gunman Mohammed Alshamrani.
The U.S. Justice Department announced Monday that information from the phones indicates that Alshamrani was radicalized and had ties to al-Qaeda before he joined the Suadi Air Force and came to the U.S. to train.
“I made two claims,” Gaetz told News 5, “first that this was a terror attack, not a murder or a case of work place violence, and that it was impossible to believe this was just the act of the shooter, of one person.”
Alshamrani opened fire at N.A.S. Pensacola on December 6, killing three U.S. servicemen and injuring eight others. He was killed by law enforcement.
Gaetz says this is now a time for counter terrorism action, not a criminal investigation.
“This isn’t something where we will see indictments, but flying missiles,” Gaetz says. “That’s a more appropriate response.”
Gaetz says Saudi Arabia has a lot to answer for, but so does U.S. intelligence for not more closely monitoring foreign servicemen.
“It represents a failure of Saudi Arabia to do their own effective vetting, but we’ve got to be more diligent moving forward to track these people,” he said. “I don’t care if they’re going to a jihad website or match.dot com, I want to know who they’re talking to, and what the substance of their conversation is.”
Despite the Pensacola shooting, Gaetz believes the U.S. can work with the younger generation now coming to power in Saudi Arabia and “bring them into the modern age”
“The folks running Saudi Arabia right now, they’re not like the 80-year-old king who wandered off the back of a camel,” Gaetz said. “These are Lamborghini-driving 30-somethings who have grown up with tremendous wealth and want to see Saudi Arabia become a modern, Muslim country.”