21 Saudi nationals sent back to country after Navy base shooting

Authorities said at least 17 military trainees were found with jihadi literature and 15 had child pornography on their computers.
2:52 | 01/14/20

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Transcript for 21 Saudi nationals sent back to country after Navy base shooting
Good evening and it's great to start another week with all of you at home. And we begin tonight with an alarming development this evening. The U.S. Now forcing out at least 21 Saudis who had come to this country for training. Some of them flight training. But tonight, federal authorities say their extremist views were discovered in the wake of that deadly attack at the U.S. Naval air skags in Pensacola. We reported here on the Saudi student going on a rampage just weeks ago at that base. And tonight, the attorney general now calling it an act of terrorism, quote, motivated by jihadist ideology. Three young sailors were killed. Eight others injured before the gunman was taken down. Tonight, what was now discovered and why those 21 Saudis are being kicked out of the U.S. ABC's chief justice correspondent Pierre Thomas leading us off. Reporter: Five weeks after that horrific mass shooting at the Pensacola naval station, 21 Saudi nationals are being sent back Saudi Arabia. This after authorities say they made a chilling discovery. At least 17 military trainees were found with jihadi litter literature and 15 with child porn on their computers. I do think it's clear that we do have to improve our vetting procedures. Reporter: A sensitive issue for the U.S., considering 15 of the 19 hijackers in the 9/11 attack were Saudis. That Saudi pilot who gunned down three sailors and wounded eight others was a radical who the FBI says was secretly planning to kill his American colleagues for months. Just two hours before the shooting, lieutenant Mohammed saed alshamrani was messages on social media. He harbored anti-u.s. Military and anti-Israel sentiments, and he thought violence was necessary to defend Muslim countries. Reporter: New evidence revealed today suggests alshamrani was planning a large-scale massacre. He had more than 180 rounds of ammunition for his handgun, which had an extended magazine. So far, FBI has no evidence the gunman killed at the scene had others helping him, but agents are scrambling to access his two badly damaged iPhones. Authorities say apple so far has been unwilling to help. It's the same problem investigators faced after the San per for a dino terror attack in 2015. We call on apple and other technology companies to help us find a solution. We have heard that question before, and Pierre Thomas with us live again tonight from the justice department. And Pierre, authorities do believe that these phones could be key to finding out whether the gunman had any accomplices? Reporter: Right, the FBI is frustrated they don't know what is on those two phones. And David, the FBI says the suspect intentionally shot one of the phones before he was killed, but right now, they have no evidence that any of those trainees knew about the plot beforehand, David. All right, Pierre Thomas leading us off tonight. Pierre, thank you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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