Enrique Marquez: Why is the FBI questioning a friend of the San Bernardino …

10 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

California shooter Farook plotted attack in 2012: US senator.

Washington: The two San Bernardino shooters were radicalized at least two years ago — well before one of them came to the U.S. on a fiancée visa — and had discussed jihad and martyrdom as early as 2013, FBI Director James Comey said on Wednesday in providing the most specific details to date about the couple’s path toward extremism. Federal investigators are probing whether one of the shooters in the San Bernardino, Calif., assault had planned a previous attack in 2012, then abandoned the plot when unrelated counterterrorism arrests were made in the area, said people familiar with the matter.A 24-year-old Wal-Mart security guard, known to friends as a shy cycling enthusiast who wanted to join the military, has emerged as a key figure in last week’s terror attack at a San Bernardino social services center.WASHINGTON: California shooter Syed Farook plotted an attack with an accomplice three years ago but got “cold feet” after a wave of US counterterrorism arrests, a senator said Wednesday.

The husband and wife who carried out last week’s massacre in San Bernardino began discussing a terrorist attack even before she came to America last year, the nation’s top law enforcement official told a congressional committee Wednesday. Enrique Marquez Jr. purchased two military-style rifles several years ago that Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik used in the attack that killed 14 people at the Inland Regional Center, according to federal authorities. A longtime friend and neighbour of Farook’s, Enrique Marquez, told investigators of their aborted plot, said Senator James Risch, who sits on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. “He has admitted that in 2012 they had something in mind and they didn’t do it because there had been some immediate arrests by the counterterrorism people,” Risch told CNN. Marquez has cooperated with FBI agents, who have been interviewing him in recent days, according to a law enforcement source speaking on the condition of anonymity.

A review of the couple’s online communication at the end of 2013 shows them “talking to each other about jihad and martyrdom,” Comey told the Senate Judiciary Committee. It implies he was radicalised long before meeting his Pakistani-born wife in Saudi Arabia. “They were radicalized before they started courting or dating each other online. The two men were also loosely related by marriage, according to the Times, which said Marquez last year married a woman named Mariya Chernykh, who is a sister of Farook’s sister-in-law. The disclosure also shows the federal government missed signs of the Pakistan-born Malik’s radicalization when she applied for a visa to enter the United States in July 2014 to get married. Law-enforcement officials now say that the more information agents have uncovered, the more it appears both shooters were interested in extremist violence before they met.

The 29-year-old Pakistani is believed to have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in a Facebook post made under another name, around the time of the shooting, according to reports. I am in such pain that I cannot even describe it.” The father, Gulzar Ahmed Malik, has been a resident in the kingdom since the early 1980s, the Saudi Interior Ministry says. The assailants shot dead 14 people and wounded another 21 at a party full of Farook’s co-workers, before dying in a shootout with police hours later. Authorities said the couple, who had a six-month-old baby, had amassed a huge arsenal in their California home including thousands of rounds of ammunition, 12 pipe bombs, and bomb-making material. The details and timing line up with the November 2012 arrest of four men from Riverside, Upland, Ontario and Pomona who were accused of wanting to join al-Qaida and attack U.S. military bases in Afghanistan.

Marquez’s relationship with Farook and his purchase of the weapons have become focal points of the investigation into the deadliest terror attack on U.S. soil since Sept. 11, 2001. Comey said it was believed they were “inspired by foreign terror organizations” and the FBI was seeking to determine whether anyone assisted, supported or equipped them.

Viviana Ramirez, 23, a friend of Marquez’s and fellow student at Riverside Community College, described him as shy but said they bonded over their mutual desire to enlist in the military. Comey said authorities were trying to determine if their union was a marriage arranged by extremist operatives, in order for Malik to gain access to the country. “It would be a very, very important thing to know,” he said. Comey addressed what he called the growing problem of encryption, which allows terror suspects to “go dark” using easily available encrypted services including telephone messaging apps and gaming consoles.

His daughter was from Pakistan but traveled to Saudi Arabia. • Inland Empire gun dealers have been reporting brisk business as people decide to arm themselves with pistols, revolvers, rifles and shotguns. His comments follow up on an appeal from President Barack Obama for high-tech leaders to help make it harder for extremists to escape from the law using technology. He would sometimes publish melancholy or depressing posts on Facebook, Ramirez said, even though his page was otherwise littered with pictures of Marquez smiling or making clownish faces while wearing a bicycle helmet.

Though Comey declined to answer questions about whether encrypted communication had been used before the attack, he did use the appearance to reiterate his longstanding concerns that criminals, terrorists and spies can use encryption applications on their smartphones to evade detection from law enforcement. Many buyers are first-time customers, he said. “Most guns people are buying are for self-defense,” Torres said. “They’re scared.” • San Bernardino Valley College honored those killed and injured in the shootings with a campus-wide moment of silence, a vigil and a vow that the campus will remain strong.

About 300 college students, faculty members and residents gathered in the amphitheater of the campus’s Greek Theatre for the event. “A horrendous event brings us together today,” San Bernardino Community College District Chancellor Bruce Baron said. The two gunmen were shot dead by police. “We have no idea what he said because those messages were encrypted,” Comey said. “And to this day, I can’t tell you what he said with that terrorist 109 times the morning of that attack. We have to grapple with it.” America’s counterterrorism infrastructure has had success flagging individuals who try to travel abroad to fight alongside militants, fund operations overseas or who communicate online with overseas terrorists. Brittani Adams, a neighbor of Syed Raheel Farook, said she had seen Marquez and Chernykh around the family home but the two looked like anything but a married couple.

Marquez attended prayers at the Islamic Society of Corona-Norco four or five years ago, though not regularly, according to Yousuf Bhaghani, president of the facility’s board of directors. “We have members who actually are recognized in writing and everything, and then you have people who come and go,” Bhaghani said. “Enrique was one of those guys who used to come, but he was not a permanent member.” “We’re trying to figure out how he got converted.

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