Enrique Marquez reportedly spoke of ‘sleeper cells’ to patrons at his job

12 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Amid Farook family violence, brothers were a study in contrasts.

LOS ANGELES — A Pakistani woman’s role as a shooter in the San Bernardino massacre is raising fears that foreign-born brides who support the Islamic State group could marry Americans to come to the U.S. to carry out extremist missions.LOS ANGELES • Specialized divers with the FBI searched a San Bernardino lake for a second day Friday, looking for a computer hard drive and any other evidence linked to last week’s terror attack and the husband-and-wife shooters who killed 14 people.

Experts in jihad, immigration lawyers and former U.S. diplomats say there’s no sign other foreign brides have sought Western marriages to launch attacks, and it’s still not clear if 29-year-old Tashfeen Malik did so. They were tipped that the small lake in a park about 3 miles from the terror attack might hold the hard drive, according to a law enforcement official briefed on the investigation but not authorized to speak publicly about the case.

While the group currently bars women from taking up arms for combat or other attacks, its commanders are pragmatic and adaptable and could drop their ban at any time, security experts say. “When they see an opportunity to do damage, and the best man for the job is a woman, they will use the woman,” said Sasha Havlicek, a founder of the British-based Institute for Strategic Dialogue, whose work includes monitoring the flow of female extremist recruits. The search began Thursday after authorities learned the shooters, Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and Tashfeen Malik, 29, may have been in the area the day of the attack, said David Bowdich, chief of the FBI’s Los Angeles office. Meanwhile, it emerged that Malik attempted to reach out to foreign terror groups, but they ignored her — probably because they didn’t want to alarm US law-enforcement, according to Reuters.

A religious conservative who lived previously in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, Malik joined her American-born husband of less than two years, Syed Farook, on Dec. 2 in donning tactical gear, grabbing assault weapons and slaughtering 14 people at his office holiday party in Southern California. Years ago, he once grew irate when his brother — hair still wet from a shower — requested a few more minutes to ready himself before heading to prayers. “Rizwan was yelling. Apparently, the government appears not to have picked up on extremist messages the pair exchanged during their online courtship two years ago, according to lawmakers detailing closed-door briefings by federal officials this week on Capitol Hill. He was cursing,” recalled Shakib Ahmed, 32, who was at the house that day and attended the same mosque. “Raheel just said, ‘All right, all right,’ like it was nothing.

An Associated Press review of matrimonial websites showed many families in Pakistan seeking grooms with passports to more prosperous countries, including the United States and Canada, but also in the Middle East. But the couple never surfaced on law enforcement’s radar and Malik was able to enter the U.S. on a fiancée visa last year despite having professed radical views online. FBI Director James Comey and other senior American officials on Thursday briefed members of Congress, who were curious to know whether any signals had been missed in the last two years. “Everyone’s asking the same questions about how it is that law enforcement didn’t know, or intelligence officials didn’t know — that they could have flown under the radar and nothing gave an indication that they were a threat,” said Rep. Some Pakistan families, however, told The Associated Press they avoided online matchmaking for just that fear. “After the incident in California, we should be extremely careful,” said Munir Anwar, a poet in the deeply conservative town of Liaqatpur, in Malik’s home region of Punjab, Pakistan. After moving to the Inland Empire, the father worked as a truck driver, while the mother became a clerk at Kaiser Permanente Riverside Medical Center.

Unlike Malik, who was a university graduate, most of the Pakistan brides being sought by Pakistani-origin families in the West tend to be less educated and thus presumed to be better housewives, said Eric T. Dean Jr., a Connecticut-based immigration lawyer who specializes in fiance visas for brides and grooms from abroad, like the visa on which Malik arrived.

Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said it was his understanding that Malik was subjected to an in-person interview during the application process for a visa but that he did not have additional details on it. Later, in multiple requests for domestic-violence protection, the mother detailed the maltreatment she said she encountered and that her children witnessed: Her husband — also named Syed — had dropped a TV on her while he was intoxicated. Police got a call around noon about the fire at Islamic Center of Palm Springs, said Deputy Armando Munoz, a spokesman for the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department. He declined to discuss what specifically led investigators to conclude that the couple had radicalized independently as early as 2013, but suggested the information did not come from intercepts. If Malik’s marriage to Farook were arranged by an extremist organization or operative, Graham described that as a “game changer” during a hearing this week in Washington.

Family members were held for hours — grilled about the gunman and his wife’s social media activity, affiliation with religious sects, changes in behavior and dress, and possible proselytizing. Attention has also turned to Farook’s 30-year-old brother, whose wife’s sister is married to a friend who bought two of the semiautomatic rifles used in the attack. After the shooting, an Italian newspaper ran a story that said Farook’s father said his 28-year-old son agreed with the ideology of Islamic State leaders and was “obsessed” with Israel.

The spokesman, Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in the Los Angeles area, added that the father was stressed and on medication. “It stretches the imagination to believe that she didn’t have some kind of knowledge … about what was going on,” said Sen.

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