FBI says assailants were likely radicalized to violence, but were not directed to it.
There is no indication that the shooters who killed 14 people in California are part of a larger terrorist group, the White House said Saturday, even as the Islamic State group claimed the pair were “soldiers” of its caliphate.
A team of top officials including FBI Director James Comey, Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson told President Barack Obama “that they had as of yet uncovered no indication the killers were part of an organized group or formed part of a broader terrorist cell.”
However, the president’s team, which also included other intelligence community leadership, “highlighted several pieces of information that point to the perpetrators being radicalized to violence to commit these heinous attacks.”
Wednesday’s rampage in San Bernardino, which also wounded 21 people, was carried out by Syed Farook, 28, and his 29-year-old wife Tashfeen Malik. They were killed in a shootout with police hours after the attack.
The FBI said Saturday it was working in coordination with local authorities to pursue “any and all leads” in its investigation, the White House said. The president was briefed on the latest details and directed his team to take all necessary steps to protect Americans, it added.
The FBI has already announced that it is treating the investigation into the attack as an act of terrorism. In its English-language radio broadcast Saturday, I.S. stopped short of explicitly claiming the attack but referred to the assailants as soldiers of the Khilafah who were “killed in the path of Allah.”
In the group’s Arabic-language radio broadcast earlier in the day, however, they referred to the attackers simply as “supporters of the Islamic State.”