PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — Perhaps the most unsettling detail about the mass shooting at NAS Pensacola is the fact that Mohammed Alshamrani was supposed to be on base. Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz is among a growing number of voices supporting a review of programs to train foreign nationals on American soil. In addition to a pause, he’d like to go a step further.
“I believe that review needs to include a pause so we’re able to ascertain what record keeping, what monitoring and what screening and what vetting occurs when people are approved in our defense attache’s office in Riyadh and then are sent to the United States for training,” said Congressman Gaetz in Pensacola Sunday.
It’s not clear how or why a training class turned into what’s believed to be a terror strike.
“This was not some act of workplace violence, this was not someone angry at their professor this was a premeditated act of terrorism and it needs to be treated that way,” Gaetz said. “Also there was no target selection here … this wasn’t someone looking for a specific person. That is the kind of political violence that’s the definition of terrorism.”
Senator Rick Scott, also a Navy Veteran, supports a review. He issued a statement that read in part “There is no reason we should be providing state-of-the-art military training to people who wish us harm. And most importantly, there is no reason to risk the safety and security of our American men and women in uniform.”
Speaking to USA Today, a member of the Center for Strategic and International Studies said the people selected for training in America are the best of the best vetted by the U.S. and their own governments.
The U.S. has long had a robust training program for Saudis, providing assistance in the U.S. and in the kingdom. More than 850 Saudis are in the United States for various training activities. They are among more than 5,000 foreign students from 153 countries in the U.S. going through military training.
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