San Bernardino Shooting: Attacker Pledged Allegiance to ISIS, Officials Say

Greg Botelho, CNN, December 4, 2015

Investigators think that as the San Bernardino, California, massacre was happening, female shooter Tashfeen Malik posted a pledge of allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi on Facebook, three U.S. officials familiar with the investigation told CNN.

Malik’s post was made on an account with a different name, one U.S. official said Friday. The officials did not explain how they knew Malik made the post.

A law enforcement official said it appeared that Wednesday’s mass shooting may have been inspired by ISIS. {snip}

But none of the officials said that ISIS directed or ordered the attack. ISIS has called for people worldwide to launch attacks in its name, but isn’t known to have claimed credit for what happened in San Bernardino.

At a press conference, FBI official David Bowdich said authorities are officially investigating the massacre as “an act of terrorism.”

Bowdich said the FBI “uncovered evidence . . . of extreme planning” that took place before the massacre. He noted some phone conversations between at least one of the San Bernardino shooters and other people are being investigated by federal officials.

No one has been arrested in connection with the massacre, but authorities say it is a possibility.

“This is looking more and more like self-radicalization,” a law enforcement official said.

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Another official said authorities haven’t ruled out that others may have influenced this radical view. In addition, the law enforcement source said investigators think a workplace issue with religion may have sparked the killings.

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Investigators are exploring Farook’s communications with at least one person who was being investigated for possible terror connections. Some were by phone, some on social media.

“These appear to be soft connections,” an official said, meaning they were not frequent contacts. Farook’s last communication with the contacts was months ago.

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The shooters didn’t make it easy for authorities: The hard drive from their computer is gone, and two relatively new cell phones were found smashed in a garbage can near one of the crime scenes, law enforcement officials said.

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