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San Bernardino assailant Malik messaged Facebook friends about her support for jihad

  • This July 27, 2014 file photo provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection shows Tashfeen Malik, left, and Syed Farook, as they passed through O’Hare International Airport in Chicago. The husband and wife died on Dec. 2 in a gun battle with authorities several hours after their assault on a gathering of Farook’s colleagues in San Bernardino, Calif. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection via AP, File)

WASHINGTON » San Bernardino, Calif., shooter Tashfeen Malik sent at least two private messages on Facebook to a small group of Pakistani friends in 2012 and 2014, pledging her support for Islamic jihad and saying she hoped to join the fight one day, two top federal law enforcement officials said Monday.

The two messages, posted before Malik entered the United States on a K-1 fiancee visa in July 2014, were recovered by FBI agents investigating whether she and her husband, Syed Rizwan Farook, had been in direct contact with foreign terror organizations and were directed to carry out the Dec. 2 attacks.

The Facebook messages indicate for the first time that U.S. law enforcement and intelligence officials missed warnings on social media that Malik was a potential threat before she applied for her U.S. visa.

One of the officials characterized the messages as “her private communications … to a small group of her friends.”

The official added, “it went only to this small group in Pakistan.” The official said they were written in Urdu, an official language of Pakistan.

The second official said Malik “expressed her desire” in one of the posts to become an Islamic militant in her own right.

Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the ongoing investigation into the San Bernardino attack, which left 14 people dead and 22 wounded.

The FBI has found that Malik and Farook were separately self-radicalized before they met on the Internet, apparently in 2013. Agents now are seeking to learn if others helped them plan or finance the San Bernardino attack, or even ordered them to carry out the assault.

FBI divers, who spent several days searching a San Bernardino lake near the couples’ home, recovered a few items but nothing that could be traced back to the couple, officials said. The dives were completed Monday.

“At best it was a hunch that something was in there,” one official said, adding that a tipster had recalled seeing a couple by the lake on the day of the shootings.

FBI agents continued to interview and investigate Farook’s former neighbor and friend, Enrique Marquez. He has told authorities that he gave the couple two semiautomatic rifles that were used in the attack.

No charges have been filed against Marquez.

Pressing criminal charges against him would cut off “any opportunity to let him lead investigators to any other persons or to an organization with whom he may be or may have been in contact with in the furtherance of the San Bernardino attack or other planned terrorist attacks,” one official said.

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©2015 Tribune Co.

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  • An earlier report indicated that she posted under an alias. Do we expect authorities to filter out these radicals when so many continue to scream for the right to privacy. I don’t hold “Big Brother” responsible at times like this. We must realize that if the rights of good and righteous people are fought for, then the radicals and misfits are protected as well.

  • The rumor that others have known probably will prove to be very true. The Federal government has to get better at prosecuting anyone that knew and said nothing. Victims of these criminal acts must pursue civil suits against those that were aware, for wrongful death. And finally, stop letting in these criminals once and for all.

    • Considering that we’d need a massive big brother state to otherwise read this, I’d rather have hope, change and disappointment than a Totalitarian Big Brother that you are subtling arguing for.

  • “He has told authorities that he gave the couple two semiautomatic rifles that were used in the attack”. Who on earth gives a couple of lunatics guns? What are the laws in CA? If rifles are supposed to be registered, then at the very least I would expect the neighbor to be charged. If he had the slightest inkling that they would be used for less than honorable intentions, then he should be charged with murder.

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