ISIS: San Bernardino Shooters Were 'Supporters'

Feds taking second look at Malik's visa application
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 5, 2015 10:53 AM CST
ISIS: San Bernardino Shooters Were 'Supporters'
This undated combination of photos provided by the FBI, left, and the California Department of Motor Vehicles shows Tashfeen Malik, left, and Syed Farook.    (FBI, left, and California Department of Motor Vehicles via AP)

ISIS is now claiming Tashfeen Malik and Syed Rizwan Farook as supporters—but apparently not ones it had been aware of. In a statement on ISIS radio Saturday, the group praised the San Bernardino shootings, saying they had been carried out by "two supporters of the Islamic State," reports the BBC, which notes that there has been no sign that ISIS orchestrated the attack or that it had any more warning of it than authorities did. Malik reportedly pledged allegiance to ISIS just before the massacre on Wednesday, but authorities believe the suspects may have been "self-radicalized" without help from a wider terrorist network, the Los Angeles Times reports. The Washington Post reports that authorities fear the attack has exposed a "threat matrix" involving legal weapons and online radicalization that makes such plots very difficult to detect in advance. In other developments:

  • In his weekly address, President Obama vowed that the US "will not be terrorized," the BBC reports. He renewed his call for tighter gun control and asked Americans to help combat extremism. ISIS and "other terrorist groups are actively encouraging people—around the world and in our country—to commit terrible acts of violence, oftentimes as lone wolf actors," he said. "All of us—government, law enforcement, communities, faith leaders—need to work together to prevent people from falling victim to these hateful ideologies."

  • One focus of the investigation—which is now officially a terror probe—is the visa process for Malik, who came to the US from Pakistan as the fiancé of Farook, an American citizen, and later obtained a green card. She was granted a K-1 visa in July 2014. Background checks at the time didn't turn up anything suspicious but authorities are now taking a second look at her application and examining whether the process should involve tighter vetting, New York Times reports.
  • The AP tracked down a relative of Malik's in Pakistan, who says her step-niece, who grew up in Saudi Arabia, used to wear Western clothes but started wearing the hijab around three years ago after becoming more religious. "I recently heard it from relatives that she has become a religious person and she often tells people to live according to the teachings of Islam," the woman says.
  • Lawyers for Farook's family say the details so far don't "add up" and it isn't clear whether the attack was terrorism, the Guardian reports. All there is thus far is some nebulous thing that someone looked at something on Facebook," attorney David Chesney told reporters. The lawyers suggested that workplaces issues may have contributed to the attack, saying Farook was lonely at work and people teased him about his beard.
(The stories of the 14 people killed, including a woman who came to the US from Iran to avoid being persecuted for her Christianity, are beginning to emerge.)

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