Sen. Lindsey Graham is demanding the suspension of the military training program that brought the Pensacola naval base shooter to the US from Saudi Arabia.
“We need to suspend the Saudi program until we find out what happened here,” Graham said. “But there’s something really bad here. We need to slow this program down and reevaluate.”
Gunman Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, a second lieutenant in the Saudi Air Force, was in the US for training under the Foreign Military Sales program, CNN reported. The program allows foreign governments to buy defense equipment and services through the US Defense Department. Alshamrani was being trained in aviation and the English language as part of the program.
Alshamrani, 21, opened fire on a training room on Friday, killing the three sailors and wounding eight others.
Graham was among the US officials who expressed reservations over the US-Saudi program that brought gunman Alshamrani to the Pensacola naval base where he opened fire in a classroom, killing three sailors and wounding eight others.
The FBI called it a “presumed” terror attack on Sunday.
US Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Florida Republican who represents the base, said on ABC’s “This Week” that the incident “has to inform our ongoing relationship with Saudi Arabia.”
“We should not be taking new incoming Saudi students until we’re absolutely confident in our vetting process,” Gaetz said.
There are currently more than 850 Saudis in the US for various training activities — among about 5,000 foreigners from 153 countries in the country undergoing some form of military training.
Saudi Arabian King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud denounced the shooting as a “heinous crime” and said Alshamrani “does not represent the Saudi people.”
With Post wires
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