FBI Concludes Search of San Bernardino Lake; Items Recovered

13 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

FBI hunts for electronic trail that could link San Bernardino shooters to foreign terror groups.

As FBI divers continue to paddle the murky waters of a lake in San Bernardino, the federal investigation into the massacre at a county health department gathering is reaching a critical juncture: Whom were the two shooters in contact with? The discovery of Tashfeen Malik’s old social-media posts about her views on violent jihad has exposed a significant — and perhaps inevitable — shortcoming in how foreigners are screened when they enter the United States.

The dive team is searching a small lake in Seccombe Lake Park about three miles north of the Inland Regional Center, the site of the December 2 shooting.LOS ANGELES (AP) — A search for a computer hard drive and anything else linked to the husband-and-wife shooters who killed 14 in the California attacks stretched into the weekend, as specialized divers with the FBI looked through a San Bernardino lake for abandoned evidence.WASHINGTON — Federal investigators are continuing to review information about other possible attack plans involving the San Bernardino shooters, based in part on interviews with the man who provided the two semi-automatic rifles used in last week’s assault that left 14 dead, a federal law enforcement official said. Officials have described Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, as “self-radicalized” terrorists since they killed 14 people and wounded 21 in the Dec. 2 attack. Adam Schiff, D-Burbank, who received a briefing Thursday morning from the FBI on the shooting. “We are examining what friends and neighbors witnessed, (and) what we did or did not know in terms of the international communication between the two of them to determine whether this might have been prevented.

Marquez has so far not been charged in connection with the attack, but the official, who is not authorized to comment publicly, characterized the Farook associate as an ongoing focus of the wide-ranging inquiry. The Islamic State group has described both shooters as “supporters” but has not claimed responsibility for the attack, unlike its immediate move to do so after the Paris terrorist assaults last month.

However sources told that they were continuing to search digital footprints left by the couple and were combing the lake for electronic items, including a hard drive, that the duo was hoping to destroy. Authorities wouldn’t say what, specifically, might be in the water, but said they had several leads that Farook and Malik had been there around the time of the attack. “As I said on Day One, we will leave no stone unturned,” said David Bowdich, assistant director in charge of the Los Angeles Field Office of the FBI. This comes as new revelations from officials and public records show a much deeper connection between Farook and Enrique Marquez than previously was disclosed. One week and a day after the massacre, Velasco’s friends and family gathered Thursday for an outdoor funeral, at a spot on a hill chosen by her three older sisters and parents in remembrance of her love of nature.

Whether Farook and Milk were ordered to carry out a terrorist attack may well be determined based on what the divers bring up from the bottom of Seccombe Lake. At a news, San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan said the man was detained, determined to not be involved, although he was booked for an outstanding misdemeanor warrant. “Basically, he was ed because he was found running in the area and he was released,” said Deputy Adam Cervantes. “We’re not going to be putting out any additional information about this individual.” “Initial (information) was chaotic and indicated three may have been involved,” he on Monday. “Extensive follow up interviews have shown two were involved.” , professor of law and director of the Center for Legal Advocacy at Loyola Law School, and a former federal prosecutor, isn’t surprised that some members of the public are confused on the issue. “I’m not surprised at all. The ceremony marked the start of a grim procession expected to take place throughout Southern California over the next week: about a dozen memorials, funerals and burials for those killed in the attack.

In a matter of this gravity, you would expect people to want nearly every question answered,” she said. “I’m not sure they’ll ever get that, but there’s so much fear, so much suspicion, that saying ‘we don’t know, we won’t know,’ won’t be a satisfactory answer.” “It would be great to be able to account for everybody at the scene, but I don’t assume that person is part of the terrorism group, and I don’t think that people should: I think that’s a myopic way of looking at the case,” she said. “If there’s really more information, the authorities will follow up,” she said. “But just creating fictitious images of attackers, not helpful, not helpful. In addition, agents have recovered from a large trash container two smashed cellphones, and are examining those and other items from the couple’s Redlands home at the FBI’s crime lab in Quantico, Va. There are limited law enforcement resources, so you really don’t want law enforcement to engaged in wild goose chases.” “In my experience, the most likely explanation is that this person had other small matters involving the law that they didn’t want to get caught up in,” she said. “They’re in shock, they didn’t want to be there. The items are surfacing as key pieces of evidence that officials hope will eventually unravel the mystery behind the worst terror attack in the U.S. since Sept. 11, 2001. At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last week, FBI Director James Comey was asked whether a foreign terror network arranged the couple’s introduction and eventual marriage in order for Malik, a Pakistani related to several radical Islamic militants, to slip from Saudi Arabia into the United States after Farook, a self-radicalized American, combed the Internet and traveled abroad in search of a wife.

In , four Inland Empire men — Sohiel Omar Kabir, a native of Afghanistan and former Pomona resident; Ralph Deleon of Ontario; Miguel Alejandro Santana Vidriales of Upland; and Arifeen David Gojali of Riverside — were arrested on suspicion of plotting to join Al-Qaida and the Taliban to kill Americans overseas. Even if Kabir and Farook knew each other — and as of Thursday evening, there was no proof that they did — doesn’t mean they knew of one another’s plots, said terrorism expert Brian Levin, a professor at Cal State San Bernardino. Though King said he was confident that the bureau was “doing all that can be done” in the inquiry, he added: “No one is certain where it’s going.” Rep. In an attempt to ensure they did not miss threats from men and women who entered the country the same way Malik did, officials are also reviewing all of about 90,000 K-1 visas issued in the past two years and are considering a moratorium on new ones while they determine whether changes should be made.

In an era when technology has given intelligence agencies seemingly limitless ability to collect information on people, it may seem surprising that a Facebook or Twitter post could go unnoticed in a background screening. Officials have previously raised the likelihood that people who witnessed suspicious behavior involving the California shooters prior to the attack did not immediately pass it on to authorities. But the screenings are an example of the trade-offs security officials make as they try to mitigate the threat of terrorism while keeping borders open for business and travel. “We run people against watch lists and that’s how we decided if they get extra screening,” said C. The ceremony took place at the Islamic Society of Corona-Norco, according to the marriage license, though the mosque’s facility manager denied it occurred there.

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. Bush’s administration. “In cases where those lists don’t hit, there’s nothing that distinguishes them from people we would love to welcome to this country.” Malik faced three extensive national security and criminal-background screenings. She started off in vector control, collecting mosquitoes hovering near backyard pools and dirty puddles for disease testing, and eventually became an environmental health specialist, a job that sent her around the county inspecting restaurants. His brother-in-law, Raheel Farook, is a Navy veteran who served from 2003 to 2007 and earned the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, among other awards. Tommy Lopez, who said he became friends with Marquez after meeting at a punk rock show seven months ago, said he never talked about his wife and was not religious.

The week that followed has brought days of shock and a list of somber preparations they didn’t imagine making for a little sister: arranging the funeral and picking photos of a smiling Velasco at birthdays and weddings for a reception slideshow. Hassan, who grew up in Minneapolis, moved to Somalia reportedly to join the Al-Shabab terror group as a recruiter and has a history of sending computer messages encouraging “lone-wolf-style” attacks.

Citizenship and Immigration Services, the agency that approves visas and green cards, over whether officers conducting interviews should be allowed to routinely use material gathered from social media for interviews where they assess whether foreigners are credible or pose any security risk. At her funeral Thursday, former colleagues recalled a petite Velasco determinedly driving enormous trucks, setting smelly mosquito traps and lifting heavy bags in spite of her small frame. After the incident, an Islamic State propagandist tweeted, “Allahu Akbar!!!! 2 of our brothers just opened fire.” Hassan saw the tweet and reportedly responded, “The brothers from the Charlie Hebdo attack did their part.

Her sisters remembered her as the one they went to for advice, even though she was the youngest, because she offered a sound opinion and did not judge. While there, Malik studied to be a pharmacist, and she took extra classes at the local branch of a women-only institute that teaches a strict literalist interpretation of the Quran, although it does not advocate violent jihad. In a brief telephone interview Saturday, the sister, Fehda Malik, said Tashfeen Malik was not an extremist, and she rejected the allegations against her sister. “I am the one who spent most of the time with my sister,” she said. “No one knows her more than me. She had no contact with any militant organization or person, male or female.” On social media, Fehda Malik has made provocative comments of her own.

In 2011, on the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, she posted a remark on Facebook beside a photo of a plane crashing into the World Trade Center that could be interpreted as anti-American. At the time Fehda Malik’s comment was posted, anti-American sentiment in Pakistan was particularly high; four months earlier, U.S. commandos had secretly entered Pakistan and killed Osama bin Laden.

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