A number of journalists, including “Fox & Friends” host Pete Hegseth, have been suspended from Twitter after posting certain details on the shooter behind the deadly attack at the U.S. Navy base in Pensacola, Florida, Mohammed Alshamrani.
Hegseth, The Post Millennial editor-at-large Andy Ngo, and filmmaker Mike Cernovich were among those whose Twitter accounts have been suspended after posting excerpts of the 21-year-old shooter’s manifesto or alleged social media posts to speculate on his motivation for carrying out the attack, reported The Post Millennial.
Hegseth, 39, posted screenshots of Twitter’s decision to make his offending tweet on Dec. 8 “no longer available,” after he called Alshamrani’s attack “Islamist terror,” according to Mail Online.
The shooter was identified by the FBI as a Saudi Air Force aviation officer, who was training at Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola. Alshamrani was a student naval flight officer of Naval Aviation Schools Command.
He opened fire in a classroom at the U.S. military base on Friday morning using a 9 mm Glock 45 handgun he had obtained legally in the United States, before he was shot dead by authorities. He killed three people and wounded two sheriff’s deputies, one in the arm and one in the knee, before one of the deputies killed him. At least eight others were also hurt. Both deputies are expected to survive.
The shooting is being investigated as an act of terrorism, the FBI announced on Dec. 8.
Hegseth shared a screenshot from a Twitter account which reportedly belonged to the shooter, and said: “Here’s the (now blocked) tweet from Saudi Islamist Mohammed Alshamrani, who murder 3 brave Americans in Florida.”
“The coward posted it just hours before his terrorist attack. This is Islamist terror. No reason to ever mince words. Saudi Arabia must be held to account.”
The Twitter account was identified by the SITE Intelligence Group, an organization that tracks militant groups. It found that the now-suspended account contained messages which blamed America for “crimes not only against Muslims but also humanity.”
Hegseth claimed he was suspended from Twitter for sharing an excerpt of content from Alshamrani’s former account.
“I was BANNED from @twitter—because I posted a screen shot of the terrorist from Florida tweeting his Islamist motivations,” he wrote on Instagram on Dec. 8.
“That’s it, a screen shot of a terrorist in his own words. If they can ban me, they will ban anyone. We need to fight back.
“Heck, I posted the terrorist screen shot on this post too, so stay tune for @instagram banning me too.
“Big tech does the bidding of the Left, especially to include anyone who speaks truth about the threat of radical Islam.”
“I’m sure @twitter will heed my ‘appeal’… #banned,” Hegseth added.
Cernovich was reportedly also suspended for the same reason, however Twitter has not yet commented on their suspensions.
Rachel Rojas, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Jacksonville Field Office, said at a news briefing that investigators are looking into the matter with “the presumption that this was an act of terrorism.”
The designation “allows us to take advantage of investigative techniques that can help us more quickly identify and then eliminate any additional threats to the rest of our community,” she said, adding that there is no evidence of other threats to the community.
“Our main goal, right now, is to confirm whether he acted alone, or was he part of a larger network,” Rojas said.
In an attempt to identify the shooter’s motive, investigators are interviewing his friends, classmates, and associates, as well as personnel from the Pensacola base and witnesses, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported.
Rojas added that there were no signs which pointed to any immediate additional threat to the community. Meanwhile, all Saudi students at the Pensacola base have been restricted to the facility as part of the investigation, she added.
Alshamrani’s training was being funded by the Saudi government, and was linked to the sale of U.S. military equipment in Saudi Arabia, reported WSJ. Before the fatal attack, the 21-year-old had not been suspected for any extremist or criminal activity, Saudi authorities said.
Saudi officials are now trying to find out how the shooter spent his time, and who he was in touch with when he visited Saudi Arabia, before returning to the United States in February 2019 for training.
Days before the shooting, Alshamrani hosted a dinner party where he and three other Saudi aviation students watched videos of mass shootings, a person briefed on the investigation said on Dec. 7.
All three victims of the shootings were Americans, the Navy said: 23-year-old Ensign Joshua Kaleb Watson, from Coffee County, Alabama; 19-year-old Airman Mohammed Sameh Haitham from St. Petersburg, Florida; and 21-year-old Airman Apprentice Cameron Scott Walters from Richmond Hill, Georgia.