DOJ declares Pensacola shooting an 'act of terrorism,' calls on Apple to decrypt shooter's phone

Kathryn Krawczyk

The Department of Justice has declared the December shooting at Pensacola, Florida's Naval Air Station was an "act of terrorism."

An FBI investigation has concluded Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, a Royal Saudi Air Force member training at the base, was motivated by "jihadist ideology" to open fire on the base last month, Attorney General William Barr announced Monday. But the probe into the shooting that killed three people and the gunman isn't over yet, with Barr making a public plea to Apple to decrypt the shooter's two iPhones so the FBI can further investigate.

So far in the investigation, Apple has given the FBI some materials from the shooter's iCloud account, but hasn't unlocked the phones altogether. Barr argued Monday that the FBI needs Apple to unlock the phones to "exhaust all leads in this high priority national security investigation."

The press conference came shortly after the U.S. reportedly decided to expel Saudi aviation trainees from the Pensacola base and others around Florida. Barr said Monday that decision was made in conjunction with Saudi Arabia, as several of the trainees had been found to have child pornography or other "derogatory material" on their phones.

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