Posted on December 9, 2015

San Bernardino Attackers Talked ‘About Jihad and Martyrdom’ in 2013

Adam Goldman and Mark Berman, Washington Post, December 9, 2015

The attackers who killed 14 people in San Bernardino last week were discussing jihad at least two years before they opened fire in California, the FBI director said Wednesday.

The husband-and-wife duo “were radicalized for quite a long time before their attack,” FBI Director James B. Comey said during an appearance on Capitol Hill. This follows earlier statements by investigators that the shooters had both been adherents to a radical strain of Islam long before the massacre.

Syed Rizwan Farook, a 28-year-old county health inspector, and his Pakistani wife, Tashfeen Malik, 29, had begun communicating online, Comey said. It was during these communications that they began discussing jihadist thoughts, long before Malik traveled to the United States and they got married.

“And online . . . as early as the end as 2013, they were talking to each other about jihad and martyrdom before they became engaged and then married and lived together in the United States,” Comey said during his testimony in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee.


Comey said investigators believe the attackers were “inspired by foreign terrorist organizations.”


Authorities have said that just after the attack, Malik posted on Facebook pledging allegiance to the leader of the Islamic State. In her posting, which used the name Khalifah Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Al Qurashi, the emir of the self-proclaimed Islamic State, she said “We pledge allegiance,” so investigators now believe it was made on behalf of both of the attackers, law enforcement officials said.


In the days since the attack, Farook has been described as a bright student during his childhood in California. As an adult, those who knew him said, he was a devout Muslim, quiet and private.

Farook brought Malik to the United States on a fiancee visa in July 2014. {snip}


The neighbor, Enrique Marquez, legally purchased the rifles–semiautomatic AR-15s manufactured by DPMS and Smith & Wesson–in California, officials say. The FBI is still investigating whether Marquez sold these rifles to Farook, his former neighbor, according to the officials.

The FBI is investigating whether Marquez and Farook intended to commit an act of terror in 2012 and then got spooked, a senior law enforcement official said Wednesday. The event that may have dissuaded them was the FBI’s arrest of multiple men in late 2012; officials charged the men in Riverside, Calif., with plotting to kill Americans in Afghanistan. Two of the men were later found guilty and two pleaded guilty.


Marquez and Farook appear to have had other connections in addition to being neighbors. An official with the Islamic Center of Corona-Norco, in Corona, Calif., the mosque Syed Farook’s brother Raheel regularly attended, said he believed that Marquez had periodically attended the center.