The Pentagon said Wednesday it had resumed training Saudi military pilots two months after a trainee shot dead three Americans at a Florida naval base in what was called an “act of terrorism.”
The US Navy said it restarted the program at the US Naval Air Station in Pensacola on Tuesday under tighter controls, including an absolute ban on the cadet pilots owning guns.
Royal Saudi Air Force 2nd Lieutenant Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani used a pistol obtained under a legal loophole to kill three sailors and wound eight other people on December 6 in a classroom building.
He was shot dead at the scene by law enforcement officers.
Alshamrani had been taking part in a training course that the US offers to hundreds of foreign military officials every year.
The Pentagon froze the training of about 850 Saudis, putting into question a decades-old program crucial to the US-Saudi relationship, which involves billions of dollars of military sales to the kingdom.
An investigation showed that Alshamrani had embraced extreme Islamist ideas but had operated alone.
Nevertheless, 21 of his fellow trainees were expelled after the probe found many of them had jihadist material and child porn.
Attorney General Bill Barr said in January the shooting was an “act of terrorism.”
“The evidence shows that the shooter was motivated by jihadist ideology,” he said.
The Navy said it would keep a closer watch on foreign military trainees in the wake of the shooting.
“The Navy is making every effort to minimize disruptions to our foreign national partners while implementing the revised security initiatives,” it said in a statement.
“Foreign military training remains one of the most effective tools to advance US national security, and these actions will enable the Navy to continue to strengthen our alliances and build our partnerships.”
Trump expected to tell all Americans to wear cloth masks in public: report
The Trump White House is expected to urge Americans to wear cloth face masks when in public to help slow the transmission of coronavirus, in a reversal of current guidelines. The CDC says there is increasing evidence asymptomatic coronavirus carriers may be spreading the virus more than first believed, The Washington Post reports.
But studies going back weeks or longer made clear people who show few or no symptoms are "shedding" more of the virus – spreading it – at a rate higher than some who are fully symptomatic.
Texas is next: Epidemiologist explains how the state acted too slowly on coronavirus
The state of Texas could be the next COVID-19 hotspot, an epidemiologist warned on Thursday.
"California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a sweeping statewide stay-at-home order on March 19," ABC News reports. "On the other hand, Texas took a much slower approach, with Gov. Greg Abbott finally instituting an order to close all non-essential businesses on March 31."
ABC News interviewed Dr. John Brownstein, an epidemiologist at Boston Children’s Hospital.
"I think Texas is going to be the next hot spot. We can already see the cases starting to increase, it is start of an exponential rise," Dr. Brownstein explained.
The American South has resisted social distancing measures — and we’re all going to pay the price
As you can see from the New York Times’ examination of travel patterns in the United States, there has been a wide and largely regional disparity across the country in terms of who was quick to self-isolate and who wasn’t. Most of New England, the Mid-Atlantic, the Upper Midwest, and the West Coast had issued stay-at-home orders by March 27. Other states that were proactive include New Mexico, Colorado, Idaho, and Louisiana. The urban areas in Texas tried to be proactive even as their state government opposed them. The South, as a whole, did not instruct people to stay at home and the result is that their travel patterns remained normal, or close to normal.