On Friday, authorities revealed how San Bernardino shooting suspect Tashfeen Malik pledged allegiance to ISIS during the massacre (alongside husband Syed Rizwan Farook). As the media busied themselves by pilfering the suspects’ apartment, the FBI announced they are investigating the massacre as “an act of terrorism.” Authorities also stressed that “this is looking more and more like self-radicalization.” In other words, there wasn’t enough evidence to rule that ISIS helped organize or direct the attack.
FBI director James Comey held a further news conference with Attorney General Loretta Lynch. They’re elaborating on the terrorism confirmation, but the difference in their terms is telling. Lynch still describes the matter as an “evolving investigation” while Comey speaks of it as a “federal terrorism investigation.” Here’s part of what Comey had to say, which stresses the FBI’s belief that the shooters were not part of a larger terrorist cell:
“The investigation so far has developed indications of radicalization by the killers, and of potential inspiration by foreign terrorist organizations … So far we have no indication that these killers are part of an organized larger group, or form part of a cell. There’s no indication that they are part of a network.”
Comey also asked the public for help but hopes to quell the rising panic:
“What we hope you will do is not let fear become disabling but instead try to channel it into awareness of your surroundings, to get you to a place where you are living your life. But if you see something that doesn’t make sense, you say something to somebody.”
Comey also admitted, “There’s a lot of evidence in this case that doesn’t quite make sense,” as it’s only been about 50 hours since the massacre took place. So, the FBI either doesn’t have evidence or does not want to release evidence of a larger cell. However, the missing hard drives and smashed cell phones in this case may indicate something different.