U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., is calling for major changes in the aftermath of a terrorist attack at the Pensacola Naval Air Station last week.
A lieutenant in the Saudi Arabian Air Force opened fire in a classroom at the Naval Air Station, killing three and injuring eight in an attack that Scott insisted was driven by Islamic terrorism.
“There is no question what it is. It is terrorism. It is radical Islam,” Scott said on Sunday.
Scott appeared on Fox and Friends to call for ending program where foreign soldiers train at U.S. military flight schools.
“We have got to make sure that American soldiers, American sailors are safe,” Scott said.
Multiple Saudi nationals are training at the Pensacola Naval Air Station, including alleged shooter Mohammed al-Shamrani. The Saudi officer used a Glock 9mm in the attack even though weapons are generally not allowed on base and in the classrooms.
Scott has been briefed but wants more answers.
“We cannot be taking risks for our sailors,” Scott said. “I was in the Navy, and I can’t imagine going to a base and saying to myself ‘you know, I wonder if I am safe here’.”
In particular, Scott said he wants to know more about rumors that other Saudi student pilots filmed the attack and had gathered the night before to watch videos of mass shootings.
“The Saudi government has to step up and say there will be full cooperation. They will make sure every student sits down with the FBI and gives them all the information so we know exactly what happened here. It is disgusting that this has happened,” Scott said.
The FBI is now questioning at least six Saudi nationals about the attack. The FBI also said that the Saudi Arabian government is pledging full cooperation just as Scott has asked.
Scott weighed in on the possibility the attack was part of a broader terror operation.
“Unfortunately we don’t know, but what we do know is that we have to do a thorough review. We need to suspend this program, and we need to make sure that these foreign governments, starting with the Saudi government, they need to make it very clear that everyone is going to cooperate,” Scott said.
al-Shamrani was shot and killed by a deputy with the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office. The FBI is investigating the incident now as a terror attack.
Reach Mike Synan at firstname.lastname@example.org.