FBI Takes Lead Role in Investigation
Obama Equates ISIL to Cancer
By Terry Miller
With two more search warrants executed in San Bernardino and Redlands, investigators are discovering some new links to the massacre carried out by a young couple last week in San Bernardino.
The FBI says Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik were motivated by political ideologies.
Over the Past weekend, new details came to light indicating that Farook and Malik, who were husband and wife, supported the ideology of ISIS. They “were radicalized and have been for quite some time,” said David Bowdich, assistant director of the FBI’s Los Angeles field office. The FBI also said they did some target practicing a few days before the attack.
Some news outlets in New York have said Tuesday that 66-year-old father of Syed Rizwan Farook has been placed on the FBI’s terrorist watch list as investigators expand their probe to include the killers’ family members and friends. We contacted Dave S. Jolly, Terrorist Screening center Spokesperson in Washington D.C, for comment on this.
“The Terrorist Screening Center does not publicly confirm nor deny whether any individual maybe included in the U.S. Government’s Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB) or a subset list. Disclosure of an individual’s inclusion or non-inclusion in the TSDB or on the No Fly List would significantly impair the government’s ability to investigate and counteract terrorism, and protect transportation security.”
The FBI has taken a lead role in the investigations in the mass shooting that killed 14 people in San Bernardino last Wednesday. “I’d like for all of us to remember that the families and loved ones of the victims, as well as the community of San Bernardino, will be dealing with the aftermath of this long after our investigation is over.
“Given the facts as we know them today, the Joint Terrorism Task Force is now investigating the Dec. 2, 2015, shooting in San Bernardino as an act of terrorism. We have taken a leadership role at the federal level and with the resources of the Joint Terrorism Task Force.
“The FBI; the San Bernardino Police Department; the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department; the ATF, and many other partners, will continue to work collaboratively as we gather facts.
“I want to assure the public that your law enforcement officials will continue to coordinate as partners to ensure we leave no stone unturned in our investigation of these horrific facts. –“ David Bowdich with the FBI.
Farook and his wife opened fire at a holiday luncheon for his co-workers at the Inland Regional Center last Wednesday. The couple did practice shooting together at gun ranges in the Los Angeles area, according to Bowdich. In fact, they had target practice at least once within days of the massacre that left 14 dead, the FBI official said.
In an appeal that will likely anger conservatives, Obama demanded greater gun control in his special address Sunday night, saying it was a key part of combating ISIS. He said it is currently too easy for people who want to harm Americans to buy guns.
“Congress should act to make sure no one on a no-fly list is able to buy a gun. What could possibly be the argument for allowing a terrorist suspect to buy a semiautomatic weapon? This is a matter of national security,” Obama said, and also argued it should be harder to buy powerful assault weapons like those used in the San Bernardino attacks.
“What we can do, and must do, is make it harder for them to kill,” Obama said.
“For seven years, I’ve confronted this evolving threat each morning in my intelligence briefing. And since the day I took this office, I’ve authorized U.S. forces to take out terrorists abroad precisely because I know how real the danger is. As Commander-in-Chief, I have no greater responsibility than the security of the American people. As a father to two young daughters who are the most precious part of my life, I know that we see ourselves with friends and coworkers at a holiday party like the one in San Bernardino. I know we see our kids in the faces of the young people killed in Paris. And I know that after so much war, many Americans are asking whether we are confronted by a cancer that has no immediate cure.”
“This is now a federal terrorism investigation, led by the FBI,” said Director James Comey, speaking to reporters at FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C. last Friday. He was joined by Attorney General Loretta Lynch. “The reason for that,” Comey said, “is that the investigation so far has developed indications of radicalization by the killers and of the potential inspiration by foreign terrorist organizations.” The Bureau’s work, however, continues in close cooperation with our federal, state, and local partners.
Comey cautioned that it is early in the investigation, “but so far, there is no indication that these killers are part of an organized larger group.” He added that hundreds of FBI personnel are following leads all over the world. “We are trying to understand the motives of these killers and trying to understand every detail of their lives.”
The FBI is in possession of a large volume of electronic evidence that belonged to the husband and wife shooters, Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik. Comey said the couple tried to conceal and destroy electronic evidence before they were killed in a shootout with police Wednesday.
Comey assured the public that the FBI is working as fast as it can to find answers. “We aspire to do it quickly,” he said, “but we most of all aspire to do it well and do it carefully.”
Comey also urged the public to be vigilant but not to live in fear. “Do not let fear become disabling,” he said, adding that it’s important “if you see something that doesn’t make sense, you say something to somebody.” Doing this, Comey explained, will “let us do the work that you pay us to do, which is to investigate and fight terrorism while you live the lives that are so wonderful in this great country of ours.”
“Our hearts continue to ache for the people lost and wounded in San Bernardino and their families,” Comey remarked, echoing Lynch’s earlier sentiments to keep the victims and their families “in our prayers.”
The FBI has established a national toll free number and asks that anyone with information contact them at: 1-800-CALL-FBI (Option 4) or Numeric Only: 1-800-225-5324 (Option 4).