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Barr: NAS Pensacola shooting was a terrorist act, asks Apple for help accessing shooter's phone

Posted at 11:08 AM, Jan 13, 2020

The Department of Justice has determined that a December 6 shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola was an act of terror, Attorney General William Barr said in a press conference Monday.

The shooter, a Saudi national named Mohammed Alshamrani, was taking part in a military fighting program. The US military will reportedly be sending more than dozen other Saudi nationals in the same program home, though none are suspected of taking part in planning the December 6 attack.

According to Barr, Alshamrani posted a message on social media on September 11, 2019, saying that the "countdown is on." He also visited the September 11 memorial in New York.

Barr also said that the Department of Justice is in possession of Alshamrani's iPhone, though they are unable to access it. In Monday's press conference, he asked Apple for help in accessing the phone.

Apple has been hesitant to assist the Department of Justice with such requests in the past, citing privacy concerns. The company and the government appeared ready for a high-profile legal clash following the 2015 San Bernardino terrorist attack, but the Department later found a way to access the phone without the help of Apple.