The FBI Director James Comey has admitted that the two San Bernardino terrorists showed signs of radicalization prior to Tashfeen Malik’s acceptance into the United States on a “fiancé” visa. Comey notes that Malik showed signs of radicalization as far back as 2013 but was still admitted into the United States as the FBI missed the warning signs when approving the terrorist’s visa. Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, would go on to kill 14 people and injure 21 by opening fire on San Bernardino County Health Department Christmas party.
The Johnson City Press reports that FBI Director James Comey spoke with the Senate Judiciary Committee about the radicalization of San Bernardino terrorists Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik. Comey admitted that the pair were likely radicalized as far back as 2013 and that the FBI missed warning signs when approving Malik’s fiancé visa. Comey went so far as to say that the terrorist couple had extremist views before ever meeting online. After Farook went to meet Malik in Saudi Arabia, it was well established according to new information that Malik held extremist views before entering the United States.
Now Senate members are asking exactly how Malik was able to enter the United States in July of 2014 if she was already linked to extremist views. James Comey says that there isn’t enough information at this time to determine exactly how the FBI missed the warning signs of radicalization, but noted that Malik was approved for a K-1, “fiancé visa,” despite having already been radicalized a year prior.
Following the realization that Malik was already radicalized before entering the United States, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson says changes to the program are being considered. Johnson said the Obama administration is now reviewing the program, but would not elaborate further. One thing is certain, with Comey’s disclosure, Senate members are rightfully questioning if the vetting process for obtaining visas is thorough enough.
According to the Daily Mail, during the Senate Judiciary Committee, Comey also noted that both Farook and Malik appeared to be “homegrown violent extremists” and not part of any larger organization. In fact, Comey says that when Farook and Malik first radicalized, ISIL was not a global jihad leader.
“ISIL inspiration may well have been part of this, but these two killers were staring to radicalize towards martyrdom and jihad as early as 2013. And so that’s really before ISIL became the global jihad leader that it is.”
You can listen to James Comey’s speech to the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding the radicalization of Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik below.
The FBI has also released images taken of Farook and Malik as they went through U.S. customs at O’Hare airport in Chicago. The photo shows Malik staring at the camera as Farook can be seen in the background. The photo is even more startling now that the FBI has disclosed that Malik was already radicalized at the time the photo was taken and that the FBI missed warning signs of her extremism when approving her visa.
What steps do you think should be taken to ensure the vetting process is more thorough for those entering the United States?
[Image via AP Photo]