Investigation into San Bernardino attack widens


Investigators trying to understand what motivated the San Bernardino shooters are digging into Tashfeen Malik’s background in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, and are trying to determine if the couple had financial support from elsewhere, a top U.S. lawmaker said Sunday.

Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said investigators are focusing on whether Malik, who was born in Pakistan and came to America in 2014, had radicalized her Chicago-born husband, Syed Rizwan Farook.

McCaul called the wife the “wild card” in the plot. Her husband was a local health inspector.


Neither had shown any public signs of extremism, friends and family said, before they shot and killed 14 of Farook’s co-workers at a holiday party in San Bernardino.

After the couple was killed in a shootout with police, investigators found additional weapons, pipe bombs and thousands of rounds of ammunition in their Redlands apartment.

McCaul said investigators still are trying to determine if anyone gave them money to buy the weapons, or training to use them and build the bombs.

“We are looking at the terrorist financing aspect to this case,” McCaul said on “Fox News Sunday.” “I believe on his salary, he was not able to buy this on his own.”

So far, authorities have found no evidence indicating the pair was part of a broader terrorist conspiracy.

But U.S. Atty. Gen. Loretta Lynch cautioned Sunday that it’s too soon to draw conclusions about the couple and what motivated them to carry out what the FBI considers an act of terrorism.


“We are trying to learn everything we can about both of these individuals,” Lynch said on “Meet the Press.” “We are trying to run everything to ground.”

President Obama is due to address the nation at 8 p.m. EST Sunday on the investigation and his strategy for defeating Islamic State.

The San Bernardino shootings, the deadliest terrorist attack in America since Sept. 11, 2001, have reinforced the threat of lone attackers who are chiefly inspired by jihadist rhetoric on the Internet.

McCaul warned that another attack is almost inevitable.

“You just can’t stop it all,” McCaul said. “…The volume is so high and the chatter is so high that it’s almost impossible to stop it all. We are ramping up our efforts, but you can’t be right every time.”

Since last week’s attack, the administration and Congress have begun working on measures to tighten the visa waiver program, which now allows easier access to the United States for people from 38 friendly countries.

Malik came to America on a K-1 fiance visa, which is not part of that program. She apparently passed multiple checks against U.S. immigration, terrorism and homeland security databases.


Homeland security officials also are pushing to deploy more customs agents in overseas airports to check travelers before they board planes headed to the United States.

The Obama administration also is continuing a program meant to encourage American Muslims to reject radical ideologies.

On Monday, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson will meet with Muslim community leaders in northern Virginia. He has held similar meetings in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Boston.

In September, Johnson created the DHS Office for Community Partnerships in an effort to find ways community organizations can discourage violent extremism and undercut messages that promote terrorism.

“Countering violent extremism has become a key focus of DHS’s work to secure the homeland,” Johnson said at the time.

Past outreach programs have had mixed results. Some Muslim leaders have been frustrated by FBI efforts to collect intelligence while also trying to open channels of communication with local groups.


On Sunday, Lynch said the government needs the public to report suspicious behavior.

“What we tell people is, ‘Alert law enforcement,’” she said. “This could be a problem, [or] this could simply be your neighbor having a bad day. But better safe than sorry.”

Follow me on Twitter: @jtanfani


Vigil planned for Monday to honor San Bernardino shooting victims

Tashfeen Malik was ‘modern girl’ who began posting extremist messages on Facebook


In address to nation, Obama to outline plan to fight terrorism and Islamic State