Islamic extremists ignored contact attempts by wife in California shooting …

11 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

FBI: California shooters radicalized at least 2 years ago.

Federal authorities are expected to indict the former neighbor of San Bernardino killers Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik for purchasing two of the guns the shooters used in last week’s massacre.The couple who massacred 14 people in California were discussing jihad and martyrdom online a year before they met in person, but there is no evidence Islamic militants arranged their marriage to facilitate an attack, the FBI says.

A U.S. congressional panel is considering whether online lending platforms need more oversight after a perpetrator of last week’s shooting massacre in San Bernardino, California, used one of the websites to obtain cash days before the rampage. The House Financial Services Committee is examining the loan and has sent questions to the Treasury Department, which deals with the financial industry’s reports on suspicious transactions, according to the panel’s communications director, David Popp.

Syed Rizwan Farook, a U.S. citizen who worked for the government, had obtained the loan through Prosper Marketplace Inc. a few weeks before authorities say he and his wife carried out the Dec. 2 attack, a person with knowledge of the matter said Tuesday. Officials investigating the California shooting believe Farook and Malik were planning an 2012 attack in the Los Angeles area, but ultimately decided against it. While there’s no indication Prosper did anything wrong, some analysts have speculated the loan may still prompt more rules for the rapidly growing business of Internet lending, potentially adding costs and eroding profits. Investigators are also looking at whether the husband accused in the shootings was planning an attack in 2012 but abandoned those plans, according to two people familiar with the investigation who were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. Mr Comey said both shooters had declared that they were carrying out their attack “on behalf of” Islamic State, an assertion he said they made “at or about the time” of the killings.

According to Fox News, Marquez is the only suspect who is likely to be brought up on charges any time soon, but law enforcement officials are monitoring other subjects as well. Though the FBI believes the pair was inspired in part by Islamic State ideology — Malik pledged allegiance to the group’s leader in a Facebook post around the time of last week’s massacre — agents are still looking for other motivations and sources of radicalization, especially because the couple’s interest in extremism predates the terror group’s emergence as a household name. “ISIL inspiration may well have been part of this, but these two killers were starting to radicalize towards martyrdom and jihad as early as 2013,” said Comey, using an acronym for the Islamic State. “And so that’s really before ISIL became the global jihad leader that it is.” The latest disclosure also suggests that the government’s vetting process failed to detect Malik’s radicalization when she applied for the visa, though Comey said he didn’t know enough to say whether weaknesses in the visa process enabled her to enter the U.S. “After this hearing today, every American will be asking the question, how did this woman come in on a fiancée visa?” said Sen. In response to a question from Republican senator Lindsay Graham, Mr Comey acknowledged that evidence of Islamic extremists playing such a role in their marriage would be “a game changer”. FBI Director James Comey told the Senate Judiciary Committee this week that agents haven’t uncovered direct ties between the couple and any terror groups, as he testified about the difficulty of detecting home-grown extremists.

Farook had been employed by San Bernardino County for five years, most recently as an environmental specialist, and also held an account at a bank when he sought the loan from Prosper, which screens borrowers and verifies key information while arranging funding. The San Bernardino Sun newspaper quoted investigation sources as saying multiple photo-graphs of Carter High School in Rialto, California, were found on Farook’s phone. Farook wasn’t on federal lists that lenders use to check borrowers for ties to terrorism, according to Scott Sanborn, chief operating officer at LendingClub Corp., one of Prosper’s main competitors. “The fact that this happened is a tragedy,” he said in an interview this week. “But the fact that it may have come from a marketplace lender is an unfortunate coincidence.” 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. Azmi Hasan, the mosque’s facilities manager, said he believed Marquez had converted to Islam, but insisted that he was not a member of the Islamic Society, and had only worshipped at the mosque three or four times in the last seven years.

Risch said Marquez and Farook “were plotting an actual attack” that year, including purchasing weapons, but became apprehensive and shelved the plan because of law enforcement activity and arrests in the area. 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.

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.

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