US Defense Secretary Still Won’t Label Attack at Pensacola Naval Base as ‘Terrorism’

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Saturday that he isn’t willing to label the attack at a US naval base by a Saudi national as “terrorism” yet.

When asked by a reporter at the the Reagan National Defense Forum in California if the attack by Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani that killed three people was definitely an act of terrorism, he said “no.”

“I can’t say it’s terrorism at this time. I think we need to let the investigators, the FBI do its work, and get us the facts, and we’ll move out from there,” Esper said.

Instead, Esper referred to the attack as a “tragic incident” and said that “we extend our condolences to all the families affected by it,” according to a report from The Hill. He also said that they are looking into the Defense Department’s vetting procedures for foreign nationals who come to train in the US.

“Yesterday, I directed that we look at our security precautions across the services and all of our installations and bases and facilities to make sure that [we’ve] got the appropriate degree of security to protect our service members and their families and our communities,” Esper said.

“At the same time, I also directed that we look at our vetting procedures within DoD for all the many foreign nationals that come, for good reason, to our country to train,” he added.

Six Saudi nationals have been arrested following the attack. The shooter also posted on social media that his motivation was US support for Israel and poor treatment of Muslims in other nations.

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Author: Cassandra Fairbanks