Monday, 18 May 2020

Saudi naval base gunman had al-Qaeda links, FBI says, slamming Apple for not unlocking his iPhones

Saudi naval base gunman had al-Qaeda links, FBI says, slamming Apple for not unlocking his iPhonesA Saudi military student who killed three Americans at a US naval base in December had longstanding links to al-Qaeda, the FBI has revealed. US investigators revealed their findings after a months-long effort to crack the encryption on Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani's two iPhones. They heavily criticised Apple for refusing to help them unlock communications on the terrorist's devices. Alshamrani, 21, a Royal Saudi Air Force flight student, carried out the attack in a classroom building at the Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida. He was there as part of a US-Saudi training programme . FBI Director Christopher Wray said the attack "was actually the culmination of years of planning and preparation." Evidence discovered on the mobile phones showed Alshamrani was radicaliced at least as far back as 2015, and had associated with "dangerous" operatives from the Yemen-based Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula [AQAP]. US Attorney General Bill Barr accused Apple of putting its own financial interests ahead of the nation's in refusing to provide a way to break the encrypted phones. He said: "If not for our FBI's ingenuity, some luck, and hours upon hours of time and resources, this information would have remained undiscovered. "The bottom line is our national security cannot remain in the hands of big corporations who put dollars over lawful access and public safety. The time has come for a legislative solution." Mr Wray said Alshamrani had expressed a desire to learn to fly years ago with plans for a "special operation," enlisting in the Royal Saudi Air Force and joining flight training in the US. He said: "In the months before the attack, while he was here among us, he talked with AQAP about his plans and tactics, taking advantage of the information he acquired here, to assess how many people he could try to kill." The December 6 shooting left three US sailors dead and eight other people were injured. Alshamrani was shot dead by police. Before he died he tried to destroy one of his phones by shooting it. AQAP claimed responsibility, but there was no immediate evidence of a direct link at the time.

from Yahoo News - Latest News & Headlines

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