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FBI: San Bernardino Shooters Were Radicalized At Least 2 Years Ago

The two San Bernardino shooters were radicalized at least two years ago – a year before one of them came to the U.S. on a fiancée visa – and discussed jihad and martyrdom as early as 2013, FBI Director James Comey said Wednesday.

Comey told the Senate Judiciary Committee investigators believe that Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, were radicalized even before they began their online relationship and that Malik held extremist views before she arrived in the U.S. last year.

The comments suggest that the government’s vetting process apparently failed to detect Malik’s radicalization when she applied for the visa. Comey said he didn’t know enough to say whether weaknesses in the visa process enabled her to enter the U.S.

Reached in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, Malik’s father condemned his daughter’s actions and said he is “very, very sad… I am in such pain that I cannot even describe it.”

Gulzar Ahmed Malik has been a resident in the kingdom since the early 1980s, the Saudi Interior Ministry says. His daughter was from Pakistan but traveled to Saudi Arabia. A former classmate, Afsheen Butt, said Malik showed drastic changes after a trip to Saudi Arabia in late 2008 or early 2009.

Guest

  • Phil Ewing, national security editor for NPR. He tweets @philewing.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.