"Crises like these are only 'useful' in today's world if they serve someone's geopolitical ends so don't be surprised if the mainstream media soon turns up the San Bernardino equivalent of the forged Syrian passport found in Paris three weeks ago" -- Zero Hedge, 12/2
As CNN reported earlier today, Tashfeen Malik pledged allegiance to ISIS leader Bakr al-Baghdadi, in a Facebook post. Additionally, Reuters reports that Islamic State media now says ISIS follwers carried out the attack.
As attack was happening, investigators believe female attacker Tashfeen Malik posted on FB, pledging allegiance to ISIS leader al-Baghdadi— CNN NationalSecurity (@NatSecCNN) December 4, 2015
The posting was apparently made under a different name. Officials have not said how they know it was indeed Malik's account. From The New York Times:
The woman who helped carry out the shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., on Wednesday had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in a Facebook posting, according to federal law enforcement officials.
There’s no evidence the group directed the woman, Tashfeen Malik, and her husband Syed Rizwan Farook, to launch the attacks, which killed 14 and wounded 21, said the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the investigation is continuing.
“At this point we believe they were more self-radicalized and inspired by the group than actually told to do the shooting,” one of the officials said.
The posting had been removed from the social media site and it’s not clear when federal authorities obtained it.
In the days leading up to the shooting, the couple took several steps to delete their electronic information, in an apparent effort to cover their tracks, officials said. Those efforts have led authorities to believe that the shooting was premeditated.
In what some on social media have dubbed "journalistic malpractice," MSNBC is now rumaging through Farook and Malik's home on live television.
This is journalistic malpractice. pic.twitter.com/iYqglTbH8Y— Adam Goldstein (@A_H_Goldstein) December 4, 2015
And it wasn't just MSNBC, after the landlord pried open the door, the media stormed the house. Here are some screenshots Mashable grabbed which show that not even the couple's six month-old baby's crib was off limits:
And here's a clip that will likely live in media infamy:
* * *
Rice and spicy chicken.
That’s what Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik served to 200 guests gathered to celebrate the couple’s wedding at a local mosque in 2013.
Two years later, the pair stormed a San Bernardino County employee holiday party, opening fire with two assault rifles. 14 people were killed, and nearly two dozen were wounded. Farook and Malik died in a subsequent shootout with police.
In the aftermath of the carnage, we took stock of what authorities recovered from the couple’s vehicle and residence.
Found in the suspects' home:
- 2,500 .223 rounds
- A “bomb lab” with “hundreds" of tools that could be used to make IEDs.
- 2,000 9mm rounds
- 12 pipe bombs
Found in the black SUV:
- 1,400 .223 rounds
- 200 9mm rounds
We also predicted that a link to terrorism would be established in relatively short order. “At the end of the day, two people opening fire with assault rifles on a holiday party seems pretty 'terrifying' to us regardless of what inspired the shooters, but remember, crises like these are only "useful" in today's world if they serve someone's geopolitical ends so don't be surprised if the mainstream media soon turns up the San Bernardino equivalent of the forged Syrian passport found in Paris three weeks ago,” we wrote.
Sure enough, just hours later, CNN reported that Farook had “apparently been radicalized.” NBC followed up shortly thereafter, citing FBI sources as saying that Farook had been in contact with “overseas individuals.” Subsequent reports suggested Farook communicated with people who were on the bureau's radar in connection with a terrorism investigation. Officials also said the contact was with "people who weren't significant players," and was dated. There was no documentation of any "surge" in communication prior to the shooting.
So if we buy all of this (and we’re not necessarily saying you should, at least not hook, line, and sinker), then the next question becomes this: what was Farook’s road to radicalization?
Born in Chicago to Pakistani immigrants, “the family moved to Riverside, where his father worked as a truck driver and his mother as a clerk at Kaiser Permanente," The LA Times recounts. He was a member of his high school Muslim club and earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental health from Cal State San Bernardino in 2010. The Times also notes that Farook’s “older brother, Syed Raheel joined the Navy immediately after high school, served from 2003 to 2007, and was awarded two medals for service in the ‘Global War on Terrorism.’” Oh, the irony.
We also know he visited Saudi Arabia for Hajj where he married Malik, a Pakistani native who was then living with family in the kingdom. Farook described himself as Sunni on at least one dating site and as we put it on Thursday, “when it comes to radicalizing Sunni Muslims, the Saudis and their brand of puritanical Wahhabism are second to none.”
On Friday, we get a bit more in the way of color from Farook's sister Saira Khan who spoke to CBS. "I can never imagine my brother or my sister-in-law doing something like this. Especially because they were happily married, they had a beautiful 6-month-old daughter. It's just mind boggling why they would do something like this," she said. "It makes us very upset and angry that how could you leave a 6-month-old daughter," her husband added.
Of course no one wants to believe that they could have so badly misjudged a relative, friend, or co-worker, so predictably, Malik is going to take the blame on this one. Here's what Christian Nwadike - a coworker who CBS says "sat only feet" from Farook for four years - had to say:
CBS: "Do you believe that he was radicalized?" Begnaud asked him.
Nwadike: "Yes, by the wife, I think he married a terrorist," Nwadike said.
CBS: "He married a terrorist?"
Nwadike: "Yes, he was set up through that marriage."
Here's an ad Farook posted on another dating website, called "BestMuslim.com":
Yes, "other small things should not pose that much of a problem". "Small things" like a deep-seated desire to go on a murderous rampage.
Obviously, this is all speculation. While it's certainly possible that Farook was influenced by Malik, it's just as possible that the relationship worked in the opposite direction and furthermore, who's to say they weren't both radicalized from the start and thus formed a bond based on a mutual affinity for extremism?
Unfortunately, getting to the bottom of this will be exceptionally difficult because the US isn't providing Pakistan with the information Islamabad needs to assist and even if Washington does decide to share intelligence, the FIA says its sytems are too antiquated to help. From NBC:
Speaking on condition of anonymity, the source said details sent through by the U.S. were scant so far but confirmed that "the work has started."
The official added that until Pakistani officials had "a picture, or an ID card number, or a passport number, we can't follow any leads."
A senior member of the Federal Investigation Agency, which is Pakistan's FBI, said that it would not be "an easy search" for authorities. The source added: "We will need more data to get more data, if only because our systems are not that sophisticated."
So much for the billions of taxpayer dollars Washington has funneled to Pakistan for "counter-terrorism" purposes.
An attorney for the shooters' family says "a lot of things don't make sense," including the fact that "no one has ever seen Farook with a pipebomb," and Malik "was maybe 90 pounds" and thus incapable of carrying an assault rifle. "Malik was never involved in the shooting," they contend. Pressed by CNN on whether the legal team will actually try to contend that the couple in fact did not commit the crime, the lawyers were non-committal.
Given the breaking news noted above, this could get very interesting in the days and weeks ahead.