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Politics

Obama: San Bernardino attack shows the threat of ‘lone-wolf actors’

President Obama

President Obama met Thursday with members of his national security team. Afterward, he said his focus was on "getting the facts before we issue any decisive judgments” on how the San Bernardino shooting occurred.

(Michael Reynolds / European Pressphoto Agency)

The San Bernardino massacre underscores the threat of “lone-wolf actors” who’ve “succumbed to violent extremist ideologies,” President Obama said as he called for Americans to come together to “prevent people from falling victim to these hateful ideologies.”

In his weekly video address released Saturday morning, the president mourned the slaying of 14 people Wednesday as “an absolute tragedy, not just for San Bernardino, but for our country.” He said that investigators were working to get a full picture of the assailants.

“It is entirely possible that these two attackers were radicalized to commit this act of terror,” he said of Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, the married couple who themselves were killed in a police shootout after they opened fire at the Inland Regional Center.

“If so, it would underscore a threat we’ve been focused on for years — the danger of people succumbing to violent extremist ideologies,” Obama continued.

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“We know that ISIL and other terrorist groups are actively encouraging people — around the world and in our country — to commit terrible acts of violence, often times as lone-wolf actors,” he said, using an alternate name for Islamic State. “And even as we work to prevent attacks, all of us — government, law enforcement, communities, faith leaders — need to work together to prevent people from falling victim to these hateful ideologies.”

The FBI said Friday that it was investigating the attack as an act of terrorism. A federal law enforcement official said Farook had contacted people in at least two terrorist networks.

Obama did not appear in public after the FBI announcement Friday. In comments Thursday after a meeting with his security team, he said his focus was “getting the facts before we issue any decisive judgments in terms of how this occurred.”

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He also renewed his call for legislation to prevent anyone on a no-fly list from being able to purchase guns.

“If you’re too dangerous to board a plane, you’re too dangerous, by definition, to buy a gun,” he said.

In the Republican response, Rep. Candice Miller of Michigan discussed legislation the House will consider next week to make changes to a visa-waiver program.

“Terrorists are looking for any and every opportunity to exploit those freedoms and use them against us, so we need to think clearly,” Miller said. “And clearly, we have a major weakness in our visa-waiver program — a glaring hole that we have to close.”

Follow @mikememoli for more White House coverage.

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