Bill Barr and Chris Wray Schedule a Press Conference to Admit Trump Let an Al Qaeda Terrorist onto Our Military Base

Today, Billy Barr and Chris Wray had a press conference to announce that — in spite of his Muslim Ban — Trump had permitted an affiliate of AQAP, Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, into this country, and onto a military base, where he bought a gun and murdered three sailors.

The evidence we’ve been able to develop from the killer’s devices shows that the Pensacola attack was actually the brutal culmination of years of planning and preparation, by a longtime AQAP associate.

The new evidence shows that al-Shamrani had radicalized not after training here in the U.S. but at least as far back as 2015, and that he had been connecting and associating with a number of dangerous AQAP operatives ever since. It shows that al-Shamrani described a desire to learn about flying years ago, around the same time he talked about attending the Saudi Air Force Academy in order to carry out what he called a “special operation.” And he then pressed his plans forward, joining the Air Force and bringing his plot here—to America.

Thanks to a lot of hard work by our people, we now know that al-Shamrani continued to associate with AQAP even while living in Texas and in Florida; and that 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.

After presenting this evidence, Barr and Wray didn’t announce that Trump is ending his Muslim Ban or retargeting it to focus on countries like Saudi Arabia that have always been a risk for terrorism. Barr and Wray didn’t explain how it was that the Trump Administration’s vetting was so poor that they let Alshamrani into a flight training program in Pensacola without vetting his social media or searching his phone on arrival. They didn’t explain how they’ll make sure foreign military officers we’re training don’t continue to plot attacks under our nose.

Instead, Barr and Wray used this opportunity to explain that Apple has to make all our phones less secure even after the FBI succeeded in accessing Alshamrani’s phones.

Barr and Wray didn’t explain why the obvious solution is not, instead, to properly vet military officers from countries that have attacked us in the past, including consensual searches of phones as those officers enter the country.

37 replies
  1. E Schaeffer says:

    Lord Miss Nancy! What are we going to do now? So much work for you and President Biden to do!

  2. vvv says:

    It’s just not clear to me if this is politicization of the results of incompetence, or politicization to cover up incompetence.

    Probably both.

    • Savage Librarian says:

      It wouldn’t surprise me if there had been whistleblowers along the way who tried to warn about this or tried to avert what happened. Florida excels at subverting truth. It’s that CYA thing, big time.

    • Scottsdale Bubbe says:

      Presidential and administration ncompetence that threatens national security and the safety of our forces should ALWAYS be politicized! After all, what was Benghazi but that?

  3. jdmckay says:

    These guys have “cried wolf” so many times, at this stage I don’t believe anything they say. Another dangerous terr’aist is the kind of thing I expect from these guys. If they really do have that “evidence”, I simply won’t believe it until they produce it and it is verified by other reliable sources.

    • PieIsDamnGood says:

      What don’t you believe? Another terrorist from Saudi Arabia killed 3 American on a military base.

      • jdmckay says:

        I don’t believe Barr, holding another presser which deflects from Trump’s manifold malfeasance and… in this case, feeds his base Islamophobia red meat. I actually cannot think of 1 thing Barr has been honest about.

  4. BroD says:

    See, they told us that that mooslim president would let terrorists loose in our country!

  5. drouse says:

    Calculated or indifference? After all, the Saudis are in a much better position to vet their own people. There is also the fact the they prefer to export this sort of extreme ideology than suppress it at home.

      • emptywheel says:

        His term was expiring. Plus he has squandered his credibility so now Barr has to replace him with someone else who’ll squander his credibility.

        • MB says:

          When Shea becomes head of the DEA, he can help craft Trump’s vaping policy, which got interrupted by coronavirus.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        And Barr needs to do it before that term expires, or the District Court will appoint the USA, who would serve until the Senate approves her replacement. (It probably already has someone lined up.) Delays would be awkward for Barr’s strategy of using the DoJ to help Trump stay in office.

  6. Rugger9 says:

    I’m reasonably sure once the digging is done that MBS will be found to have wanted the terrorist brought in as a “favor” or some such explanation. DJT is too leveraged (as well as Jared) to say no.

    • drouse says:

      I’ve always thought that Trump had to parcel out his boys in order to cover his debts. Putin has the right and the Saudis have the left. Whenever they want something they just give theirs a little squeeze.

  7. P J Evans says:

    It’s a measure of what this maladministration has done that I don’t really believe this announcement.

  8. Savage Librarian says:

    There’s this, too.

    “William Barr installs top DOJ aide General Michael Sherwin over U.S. prosecutors in Washington” – The Washington Post, May 18, 2020

    “Barr selected Sherwin, a career U.S. prosecutor from Miami who specializes in national security cases, after first meeting and being impressed by him during the investigation of a deadly December shooting at a naval air station in Pensacola, Fla., officials said.”

    “Department leaders approved his move to the D.C. office after softening its sentencing recommendation for Trump political confidant Roger Stone in February. Sherwin started in April, almost a month before Barr moved to dismiss the guilty plea of former Trump national security adviser Michael T. Flynn, an action no career prosecutor joined.”
    “Sherwin approved and communicated to prosecutors the decision to give Flynn’s defense internal FBI records that the government cited in its dismissal motion, an official said. The decision to move to dismiss the case was Barr’s, and approved and communicated to Flynn prosecutors by Shea, who showed them the motion on a day’s or less notice, two officials said.”
    “Three Justice Department officials confirmed he was Barr’s choice to take the No. 2 slot in the district office in D.C. They cited Sherwin’s work in the investigation of the deadly December shooting at a naval air station in Pensacola, an act of terrorism that led Barr to call on Apple to unlock the shooter’s phones.”

  9. earlofhuntingdon says:

    As an aside, and after all these years, how has Glenn Greenwald missed that EW is highly competitive on and off the rugby pitch? Is he convinced, all evidence to the contrary, that purple sniping and gold whinging will make her cower? Or does he seek refuge in them because he can’t think of anything else to do? I don’t know, but I won’t be reading the Intercept to find out.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Fifteen years ago, I would not have agreed. But GG’s faith in the anti-Russiagate position – and his Trump-like denigration of those who argue otherwise – has become a matter of emotion and dogma.

    • MB says:

      Greenwald’s article in the Intercept today purports to be about a NY Times critique of Ronan Farrow. But, a few paragraphs in, it turns into a fulminous anti-Russiagate rant. Since he’s co-founder of the Intercept, he gets to have his articles published whenever he writes them, but it’s weird seeing the regular mix of other articles there that are counter to his POV. I guess the Intercept is now a “big tent”.

      • Soothsayer says:

        Personally, after years ago seeing GG’s pattern of behavior, I thought maybe is it possible he is either paid as 1) an adversarial intel operative (maybe RIS or Moosad(sic) or some other entity? who knows) 2) an op supporting some transnational criminal org 2) or a fake lefty plant but actually a conservative meant to stake flags on the left to dissuade them from seeing what the corrupt op actually was. I think, it is even possible a little bit from columns 1, 2 and 3.

        Yeah, you probably think wtf am I talking about. Well Clouseau’s, just look at his pattern of behavior on how and what he writes on, and when over time each piece has come out, especially in relation to specific related historical occurrences. He just opened my mind to wtf may actually be occurring through not just the 2016 thread, but prior and ongoing other related threads.

        Maybe I am wrong who knows, but regardless, I signed off from trying to determine wtf was going on a few years ago. Now I just don’t care because who cares what I think or percieve, it’s not my problem. I leave it to the experts to deal with or turn a blind eye to what may be going on, like they sometimes seem to do.

  10. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The MSM keeps using the refrain that the president has authority to fire an IG (with the appropriate notice), as the prelude to criticizing those firings. That’s bad framing.

    The immediate issue is not whether the firings should put Trump in jail, or even that the underlying activity that they hide might do that (an important issue). The issue is that they destroy oversight and accountability of the executive branch. That’s dangerous and it could be a permanent problem. That it should be illegal and unconstitutional is a separate matter.

    Val Demmings just made an excellent point on MSNBC. Bill Barr’s “investigations” into Biden and Obama – which Barr has already said he doesn’t expect to lead to indictments (then why do them?) – are an exact parallel for what Trump tried to do with Biden and Ukraine. He wants the propaganda value of an investigation: its results are irrelevant.

  11. Ollie says:

    boy oh boy. excellent reporting Marcy. Damn if we survive this era it’s going to be a miracle.

  12. earlofhuntingdon says:

    You’d think there would be a registration process for advanced military training for foreigners. It would include the usual vetting details, plus filing with the USG of social media accounts, phone and computer machine IDs, access codes, etc., with periodic update requirements, depending on the length and sensitivity of the training.

    If they omit or lie and get caught, bye bye, with a note sent home to mamma. High flyers, the kind sent to the US for training, don’t often survive that sort of faux pas.

    (I imagine there is, but what’s it require and how well is it policed?)

  13. madwand says:

    Yeah, well, we attacked Afghanistan and Iraq, not Saudi Arabia after 911 and how did that go? Not surprised he isn’t targeting the Saudis, but he is targeting a million of our citizens if that list is correct. Not surprised there either. I’m sure there is a Republican or three who are thinking, “what’s the point of having a list if you can’t purge them?”

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