FBI searches lake in San Bernardino terrorism probe; questions over what …

11 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Amid family violence, brothers were a study in contrasts.

The tearful mother of a man who authorities say bought two assault-style guns that were used by his friend Syed Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, in last week’s mass shooting, broke her silence Thursday saying her son is a ‘good person.’ Investigators say Chacon’s 24-year-old son, Enrique Marquez, who was related through marriage to Farook, may have planned a previous attack with the US-born terrorist in 2012, but the two ended up shelving the plot after the arrests of four men in Riverside, California, among them a jihadi recruiter.

Terrorist Tashfeen Malik tried unsuccessfully to contact multiple Islamic militant groups in the months leading up to the San Bernardino attack, according to officials.WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. government appears not to have picked up on extremist messages exchanged during the online courtship two years ago between the American-born man accused in the California shootings and his then-fiancée in Pakistan, according to lawmakers detailing closed-door briefings by federal officials on Capitol Hill. Disclosures of her to extremists abroad surfaced as the investigation of the Dec. 2 shooting rampage in San Bernardino, about 60 miles (100 km) east of Los Angeles, appeared to take a new turn with divers searching a small lake near the scene of the massacre. The number of organizations that Malik, 29, tried to contact and how she sought to reach them was unclear, but the groups almost certainly included al Qaeda’s Syria-based official affiliate, the Nusrah Front, the government sources said. 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.

One source said investigators have little, if any, evidence that Malik or her husband, Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, had any direct contact with Islamic State, which has seized control of large swaths of Syria and Iraq and claimed responsibility for assaults in Paris last month that left 130 people dead. My world is upside-down,’ she said. ‘My life changed Wednesday.’ The Los Angeles Times reported that she cried throughout the 10 minutes she talked to reporters off camera, saying, ‘I want this to stop,’ before returning to the house.

Militant groups sought out by Malik likely ignored her approaches because they have become extremely wary of responding to outsiders they do not know or who have not been introduced to them, sources said. Following Farook and Malik’s deaths in a gun battle with police, officials discovered exterior shots of schools on the man’s cell phone, raising concerns that he may have been scoping out possible targets while working as an environmental mental health inspector.

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. Also on Thursday, FBI and sheriff’s divers began scouring Seccombe Lake in downtown San Bernardino, just a couple of miles from the site of last week’s terrorist attack, in search of a computer hard drive the couple were said to have discarded, according to unnamed sources speaking to CNN.

One official said information that the FBI has been able to glean came from an examination of the pair’s electronic devices after the attack, rather than intercepts. “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. 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. 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. If the massacre proves to have been the work of killers inspired by Islamic militants, it would mark the deadliest such attack on U.S. soil since Sept. 11, 2011. The FBI chief also confirmed that the agency was looking to see if Farook had links to Sohiel Kabir, a naturalized US citizen of Afghani descent who was sentenced earlier this year to 25 years for arranging for three men to travel to his native country to kill US troops.

Kabir, 37, was identified as the ringleader who converted two of the terror suspects to Islam after meeting them at a hookah bar and then recruiting them to provide material support to terrorists abroad. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said Malik was subjected to an in-person interview during the application process for a visa. 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. The attack by Farook, the U.S.-born son of Pakistani immigrants, and Malik, a Pakistani native he married in Saudi Arabia last year, has heightened security concerns in the United States and become an issue in the U.S. presidential campaign.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and John Mulligan, deputy director of the National Counterterrorism Center, briefed members of both houses of Congress on Thursday about the investigation in closed, classified sessions. “The current impression is that these two people were acting alone,” U.S. 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. Jim Risch, a Republican who sits on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, confirmed that Marquez and Farook ‘were plotting an actual attack’ in 2012, including buying weapons, but became apprehensive and shelved the plan because of law enforcement activity and arrests in the area. But he added that he was troubled by the fact that the couple had tried to cover their tracks by destroying their cellphones and other electronic equipment.

Richard Burr, R-N.C. replied, “Explain to me how you do that without any bread crumbs that are obvious, without somebody that’s inside a mosque, that’s inside a person’s family that tips you off. Representative Bob Goodlatte, Republican chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, told reporters afterward that there were people in the community who saw suspicious activity at the shooters’ house but decided not to tell authorities “for a variety of reasons.” The motives of Farook and Malik remain unclear. Prosecutors said Deleon, 26, and Kabir followed the teachings of violent jihad by Anwar al-Awlaki, a US-born cleric who was a key al-Qaida figure and was killed by a CIA drone strike in Yemen in 2011. In a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday, Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa said Malik had listed a false address in Pakistan that screeners did not catch. Investigators also have been looking into the relationship between Farook and Enrique Marquez, a boyhood friend and Muslim convert who purchased the two rifles used in the attack.

Marquez, who is related to Farook’s family by marriage – his wife and the wife of Farook’s older brother are sisters – has not been charged with any crime. In the aftermath of last week’s deadly act of terror that killed 14 people at the Inland Regional Center, the Farooks have found themselves fielding an extreme amount of attention and scrutiny.

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. 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.

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