The California terrorist Tashfeen Malik attempted to contact a number of Islamic militant groups before the San Bernardino attack. Officials claim that her attempts were ignored by the jihadi militants likely out of fear of being caught in an FBI sting. The officials note that the female terrorist made the attempts to contact the militants prior to the San Bernardino shooting and that she had planned an “even bigger” attack alongside her husband, Syed Farook.
The Daily Mail reports that Tashfeen Malik, one of the two San Bernardino shooters, attempted to contact a number of Islamic militant groups in the years leading up to the San Bernardino shooting. Malik was a jihadi sympathizer and reached out to the groups in an attempt to plan an “even bigger” attack in California. However, none of the Islamic militant groups responded to Malik’s communications. Officials note that the groups likely didn’t return communication because they feared they could be caught in a sting operation.
Though Malik did not directly speak with any of the militant groups, she did pledge her allegiance to ISIS on Facebook. Officials did not disclose exactly which Islamic militant groups the female terrorist attempted to contact prior to the attack but noted it was more than one. One likely group discussed was the al-Qaeda’s Syria-based official affiliate, the Nusrah Front. Other than this group, it is unknown which organizations the woman attempted to contact leading up to the attack.
There are no reports, outside of her allegiance pledge on Facebook, that Malik made any attempts to contact ISIS officials. However, she was known to be an ISIS sympathizer and openly supported the group. According to the Los Angeles Times, an official working on the case noted that the correspondence attempts were discovered on digital devices found at Malik and Farook’s home in Redlands.
In addition to finding the attempts to communicate with Islamic militant groups, the FBI also uncovered evidence that the couple was planning an even bigger attack somewhere in California. Although a specific location was not disclosed, it was believed to be a school or university.
“Farook and Malik were in the final planning stages of an assault on a location or building that housed a lot more people than the Inland Regional Center, possibly a nearby school or college, according to federal sources familiar with the widening investigation.”
As Malik was attempting to contact Islamic militant groups, it appears that Farook was already heavily involved in the jihad movement. In fact, the FBI discovered that Farook was in the social circle of Sohiel Kabir, who was sentenced earlier this year to 25 years in prison for recruiting three men in 2012 to go to Afghanistan to kill US troops.
The timing of Farook’s association with Kabir and his 2012 purchase of two assault rifles seems to indicate that Farook was planning to take part in a terrorist attack long before he opened fire in San Bernardino. Now, the FBI is struggling to understand how Tashfeen Malik was allowed entrance into the United States on a fiance visa when she was already radicalized prior to entry. FBI Director Comey admitted that the warning signs were not caught when she entered the U.S. and that they are investigating how these signs were missed.
[Photo by U.S. Customs and Border Protection/AP]