Statement Following the Conclusion of Pensacola Naval Air Station Attack Investigation
Following the conclusion of the investigation by US law enforcement authorities into the shooting incident at Pensacola Naval Air Station on December 6, 2019 involving a Royal Saudi Air Force cadet, the official spokesperson of the Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Washington would like to stress the following points:
The disturbed and radicalized individual who carried out this terrible attack acted alone. He does not represent the hundreds of thousands of Saudis who have lived, studied and trained in the United States over the past several decades, nor does his heinous act represent the values of Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia has fully cooperated with American investigators looking into the motivations of the attacker. Saudi Arabia will continue to cooperate with US authorities should they require additional information. In addition, the Kingdom has determined that 21 cadets have demonstrated conduct unbecoming of an officer in the Saudi Royal Air Force or Royal Navy and therefore have been unenrolled from their training program in the U.S. military. They will be returning to the Kingdom.
It is worth noting that the military training that the US provides to Saudi military personnel has enabled Saudi soldiers, pilots and sailors to fight along their American counterparts and against our common foes. The close cooperation between the two nations on intelligence matters and issues related to counter terrorism has saved the lives of many in the US, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere and has made the world a safer place. Approximately 28,000 Saudis have undergone military training in the US over the course of several decades without incident.
Saudi Arabia has been at the forefront of the international community’s effort to counter terrorist groups for many years. The kingdom has used every means at its disposal to counter the men, mindset and money that allow Al Qaeda, ISIS and other terrorist groups to recruit followers and to threaten communities and even entire nations. In addition, the terrorists who have struck the US and many other nations have also targeted Saudi Arabia’s people, leadership, military personnel and even our holiest religious institutions in Mecca and Medina on multiple occasions. Violent extremists continue to pose a serious challenge to the security of the United States, Saudi Arabia and most countries around the world. Terror groups have recruited thousands of people from dozens of countries. The kingdom has worked closely with the US to counter this global threat.
Finally, close to a million Saudis have come to the US for their education, training and other reasons over several decades. The overwhelming majority of them are law-abiding citizens who view themselves as unofficial ambassadors of the kingdom. Many consider the United States as a second home and treat their American colleagues, classmates and neighbors as an extended part of their family. Thousands of them took to social media to condemn the attacker and to extend their condolences to Americans, as did our leadership and our ambassador to the United States.