No evidence California attackers were part of terrorist cell: FBI head

22 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

FBI Director Says San Bernardino Shooting Suspects Were Not Involved in Terror Cell.

The husband and wife who shot and killed 14 people in San Bernardino, Calif., this month used private online messages to express their commitment to Islamic extremists, but they did not make those communications on social media before the attack, the director of the F.B.I. said Wednesday. Without being involved with a cell, it’s likely that the married couple, Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik, were inspired by the Islamic State — not necessarily organized by the militant group. Comey, speaking at a news conference in New York, said that investigators had found no evidence that the couple were part of larger cell or were being directed by terrorists overseas. Democrats and Republicans have reacted with outrage in recent days to reports that Tashfeen Malik, 29, openly discussed her support for martyrdom in public social media posts which were overlooked due to a policy in the Department of Homeland Security against immigration officials from routinely inspecting the Facebook and Twitter accounts of visa applicants.

He said the assailants — Tashfeen Malik and her husband, Syed Rizwan Farook — were “consuming poison on the Internet” and becoming radicalized over a period of time. Comey said the Islamic militant group has “perfected” the use of social media, particularly Twitter, in a way to gain access, inspire and encourage supporters worldwide. Here’s the headline on a New York Times story that appeared on page A1 on Sunday: “Visa Screening Missed an Attacker’s Zealotry on Social Media.” The story was straightforward, noting that three immigration checks for Malik had missed something critical: “None uncovered what Ms. Comey said at Police Headquarters in Lower Manhattan. “And so untangling the motivations of which particular terrorist propaganda motivated in what way remains a challenge in these investigations, and our work is ongoing there.” “But one thing we’re trying to understand is, ‘So where were they for four hours after the attack and what else, if anything, were they planning to do and was there anybody who helped them or assisted them or supported them in some way,’ ” he added.

He said he was “not yet in a position” to comment on whether family members of the attackers could have done something to flag their behavior to the authorities. “We can see from our investigation that in late 2013, before there is a physical meeting of these two people resulting in their engagement and then journey to the United States, they are communicating online, showing signs in that communication of their joint commitment to jihad and to martyrdom,” Mr. I’ve seen some reporting on that, and that’s a garble.” The FBI director’s remarks bring into question claims made during Tuesday’s Republican presidential debate, which focused on national security in the wake of the San Bernardino attacks. “We didn’t monitor the Facebook posting of the female San Bernardino terrorist because the Obama DHS thought it would be inappropriate. Comey said he wasn’t yet ready to talk about whether the suspects’ family members should have alerted law enforcement, but he added, “I am highly confident that in this case, as in nearly all of our other cases involving radicalization, that somebody saw something that was concerning and obviously didn’t tell law enforcement.” Mr. It is political correctness.” Former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina echoed that claim. “For heaven’s sakes, every parent in America is checking social media and every employer is as well, but our government can’t do it,” she said.

The FBI has concluded that the shooter, Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, was inspired and motivated by a foreign terrorist organization’s propaganda, Mr. The government’s recent efforts to prevent radicalization and identify extremists have faced challenges, especially in communities where members are reluctant to trust law enforcement. NYPD Commissioner William Bratton said he is working with partners, including religious leaders and the Belgian police, to develop a program that will give individuals a place to turn if they see signs of radicalization in someone they know.

And straight into the political arena it went. “It’s not a lack of competence that is preventing the Obama administration from stopping these attacks. He said on the morning of the May 3 attack in Garland, Texas, one of the shooters exchanged 109 messages with a known terrorist outside the U.S., but the communications were on an encrypted mobile messaging app that couldn’t be read by law enforcement.

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