Exclusive: San Bernardino shooters buried in quiet funeral following Islamic …

23 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

California shooting: ‘No evidence Farook, Tashfeen were part of terrorist cell’.

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, who opened fire on a San Bernardino holiday party earlier this month, were buried Tuesday in a quiet, graveside funeral guarded by FBI agents. Before they even met, the murderous married couple who massacred 14 people in San Bernardino bonded online over their commitment to “jihad and martyrdom,” FBI Director James Comey said Wednesday. “Before there is a physical meeting of these two people resulting in their engagement and journey to the United States, they are communicating online, showing signs in that communications of their joint commitment to jihad and to martyrdom,” Comey said in a press conference at NYPD headquarters.President Barack Obama will hold private meetings Friday with families who lost loved ones in the December 2 California massacre that killed 14 and wounded 22 others.

The revelation about the private messages comes after US security officials were criticised for not checking killer Malik’s social media before admitting her to the US in 2014. The pair avoided broadcasting their views on social media — contrary to previous reports — in an apparent bid to conceal their sinister intentions, Comey said. Spokesman Josh Earnest referred to the president as the “consoler-in-chief” who several times has had to meet with victims’ families and survivors of mass shootings.

Comey said the Federal Bureau of Investigation currently has “hundreds” of investigations in all 50 US states involving potential Islamic State-inspired plots. He also said that Muhammed Youssef Abduladeez, who killed four Marines and a Navy soldier in Chattanooga, Tennessee, this year, was inspired by a foreign terror group, the first such admission from the FBI. Once ISIS social media minders become convinced a follower is prepared to kill on their behalf, they switch to an encrypted form of communication, Comey said. “They move from Twitter direct messaging, which we can get access to with lawful probable cause, to a mobile messaging app that is end-to-end encrypted,” Comey said.

The funeral attendee and another person familiar with the situation, both of whom asked not to be identified for fear of retaliation, said it took a week to find a graveyard willing to accept the bodies. Islamic State also employs “end-to-end” encryption when communicating with individuals who it believes are willing to carry out killings in its name, Comey said. The FBI previously said Farook’s wife seemingly pledged allegiance to the leader of Islamic State before launching the sickening assault , something it now denies. Previously, anonymous federal officials told journalists that Tashfeen Malik, the wife of Syed Farook, had posted allegiance to ISIS via a Facebook page at the time of the attack. Still want to know where they were for four hours [after the attack] and what else were they planning to do and was there anybody who helped them or assisted them in some way,” Comey said.

They said the husband and wife were ultimately buried in a cemetery far from San Bernardino, after a closer facility refused to take the bodies because of fears the graves would be desecrated. Sources close to the investigation confirmed that they had found a message of support to IS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi – but did not explain how they knew Malik, 27, had made the post. Others added that Malik expressed “admiration” for al-Baghdadi but there was no sign anyone affiliated with IS replied or that any operational instructions were passed to her. Comey’s latest comments on the worldwide investigation of the couple and the attack they carried out at a holiday gathering of Farook’s co-workers came as U.S. Muslims are usually buried within 24 hours of dying, but family members and community members had to wait for the bodies to be released by law enforcement officials and then for permission from a cemetery.

The U.S. ended its system of color-coded terrorism alerts in 2011, replacing it with occasional public announcements about possible “elevated” or “imminent” threats. The FBI confirmed it is probing the massacre as an act of terrorism and the couple’s family have been contacted in Pakistan as they build up information on their movements. The family of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of the two men accused of carrying out the Boston Marathon bombing attack in 2013, faced similar difficulty finding a place to bury his body after the attack. Crude devices were left behind at the scene of the massacre and defused by bomb squads, and a dozen more were recovered at the killers’ rented home.

The investigation continues but we have not found that kind of thing.” An FBI spokesperson later clarified Comey’s remarks to say the director was only speaking about events before the shooting. But most Muslims in the community refused to participate in the burial or perform the funeral prayer, called Salat Al-Janazah, according to the source who did not attend the funeral. “I don’t forgive him myself,” said the mosque-goer who did not attend the funeral. We didn’t monitor the Facebook posting of the female San Bernardino terrorist because the Obama DHS [Department of Homeland Security] thought it would be inappropriate.

But he described it as an “Internet service provider communication” that is “very common” and provides both “email service and direct messaging.” Comey said that the service is used to transmit “trillions” of messages, indicating that it is ubiquitous and well known to law enforcement. On Monday, the Los Angeles Times reported that Malik “sent at least two private messages on Facebook to a small group of Pakistani friends in 2012 and 2014, pledging her support for Islamic jihad and saying she hoped to join the fight one day.” The paper attributed the information to “two top federal law enforcement officials.” Comey didn’t specify whether the couple may have used social media services, such as Facebook, to send private messages, so the information may still be accurate.

It’s not clear from the Times story whether such posts might predate any information that Comey was addressing in his remarks, or whether they were made prior to Malik ever meeting her future husband. But Comey was adamant that even though the couple were communicating with each other about jihad and martyrdom, there was nothing that the FBI could have done to intercept and read their communications.

Farook was a U.S. citizen, and law enforcement couldn’t have read his communications without a court order based on some reason to believe he was associating with terrorists. “To be clear, and I think this is the way we all want it, we don’t intercept the communications of Americans,” Comey said. “This was an American citizen communicating overseas without predication to believe they’re involved in terrorist activity.

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