Evidence mounts behind San Bernardino as terror attack, but no clear links to outside groups

After days of questions about the deadly shooting in San Bernardino, the FBI says it is now investigating the attacks as an act of terrorism. The killers reportedly tried to cover their digital tracks, while at the same time the female suspect posted on Facebook during the attacks, pledging allegiance to the leader of the Islamic State group. Judy Woodruff reports.

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    Evidence is mounting that the killers in San Bernardino, California, had become homegrown Islamist radicals. But it is not clear they had links to anyone else.

    Those major points emerged today in what is now a full-blown federal case.

  • DAVID BOWDICH, FBI Assistant Director:

    We are now investigating these horrific acts as an act of terrorism.


    After days of questions, a partial answer, but few details. The FBI's David Bowdich says there's still much they don't know about the carnage at a social services center. The killers, Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, tried to cover their tracks.


    They attempted to destroy their digital fingerprints. For example, we found two cell phones in a nearby trash can. Those cell phones were actually crushed. We have retained those cell phones and we do continue to exploit the data from those cell phones. We do hope that the digital fingerprints that were left by these two individuals will take us towards their motivation.


    It also turns out that Malik took to Facebook as the attacks began, and under an alias she pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of the Islamic State group.

    Moreover, a news agency linked to ISIS claimed the couple as supporters.

    But, in Washington, FBI Director James Comey disputed that notion.

  • JAMES COMEY, FBI Director:

    So far, we have no indication that these killers are part of an organized larger group or form part of a cell. There is no indication that they are part of a network.


    Meanwhile, more information has emerged about Malik's background. Pakistani intelligence officials said she moved from Pakistan as a child with her family to Saudi Arabia. She met Farook there in 2014, and they were married later. Farook and Malik died after the attack in a shoot-out with police.

    Today, a media frenzy engulfed their apartment, after the landlord let reporters inside. Some networks aired the footage on live TV.

    Investigators had already finished their work there. Overnight, police released the identities of all 14 people killed in the attack, overnight. They ranged in age from 26 to 60, among them, Nicholas Thalasinos, who passionately defended Israel and reportedly argued with Farook two weeks ago at work about the nature of Islam.

    Memorials for the victims continued to grow in San Bernardino. And last night, thousands attended a vigil at a local baseball stadium. Lights were dimmed and participants held candles, as the names of the victims were read.

    For now, officials say it's still not clear if Farook and Malik planned other attacks. But there's no indication of any further threats in the U.S.

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