Tashfeen Malik, (L), and Syed Farook are pictured passing through Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport in this July 27, 2014 handout photo obtained by Reuters December 8, 2015. Reuters/US Customs and Border Protection/Handout via Reuters
The couple who massacred 14 people at a California holiday party were discussing jihad and martyrdom online a year before they met in person, but there is no evidence Islamic militants arranged their marriage to facilitate an attack, FBI Director James Comey said on Wednesday.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation believes Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, the U.S.-born son of Pakistani immigrants, and Tashfeen Malik, 29, a Pakistani native he married in Saudi Arabia last year, were each inspired by Islamic extremists before they became acquainted, he said on Capitol Hill.
The precise origins of the couple’s indoctrination in extremist ideology remain to be determined but appear to date back about two years, before Islamic State “became the global jihad leader that it is,” Comey said.
“They were actually radicalized before they started … dating each other online, and as early as the end of 2013 they were talking to each other about jihad and martyrdom before they became engaged,” the FBI director testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The husband and wife were killed last week in a shootout with police hours after opening fire with assault rifles at a holiday gathering of Farook’s co-workers at the Inland Regional Center social services agency in San Bernardino, about 60 miles (100…