Shooters planned San Bernardino massacre alone, FBI says


Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, appear to have planned the deadly rampage in San Bernardino on Wednesday on their own, without assistance from a broader terrorist cell in the U.S., FBI Director James Comey said Friday.

“So far we have no indication these killers were part of an organized larger group or formed part of a cell,” Comey told reporters at a press conference in Washington, D.C. “There is no indication they were part of a network,” he said.

Given the amount of ammunition and homemade explosives found in the couple’s home, the FBI has determined that Farook and Malik had planned a terrorist attack and likely were motivated by extremist views. “This is now a federal terrorism investigation led by the FBI,” Comey said.


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The FBI currently believes the couple were inspired to act by terrorist groups and haven’t found evidence of a group such as Islamic State or Al Qaeda helping them to plan or carry out the attack that killed 14 people in the Inland Regional Center.

“The investigation so far has developed indications of radicalization by the killers and potential inspiration by foreign terrorist organizations,” Comey said.

Aspects of the plot have even confounded seasoned counterterrorism investigators, Comey said.

“There is a lot of evidence in this case that doesn’t quite make sense,” he said. The FBI hopes that further examination of the couple’s damaged cellphones and computer hard drives sheds more light on why they decided to attack the office party at the center but not a more high-profile target, and why they had constructed a dozen pipe bombs. The FBI is sifting through “a very large volume of electronic evidence” that “these killers tried to destroy and tried to conceal from us,” Comey said.

The couple were not on the FBI’s radar before the attack. “There is nothing in our holdings about these two killers,” Comey said. There was no contact between the couple and anyone being investigated by the FBI that was “such a significance” that put them onto the FBI’s radar screen, Comey said.


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