Previously, this website – OK, Fine – wrote about whether the San Bernardino shooting could be considered “workplace violence.” It has been made clear by numerous media outlets that the people who were killed were the co-workers of one of the shooters – Syed Farook. The people at the party the couple raided were employees of the San Bernardino County Health Department – the same employer as Farook.
Many media outlets also reported that one or more of the shooters pledged support for ISIS on Facebook. That, however, is another story due to a lack of online evidence. That – or related claims – may be coming into question.
According to The Washington Post, on December 16th, FBI Director James B. Comey said this to reporters in New York: “So far, in this investigation we have found no evidence of posting on social media by either of them at that period in time and thereafter reflecting their commitment to jihad or to martyrdom. I’ve seen some reporting on that, and that’s a garble.”
That report can be found here.
Reports in the New York Times and in other outlets claimed that the San Bernardino couple “talked openly on social media” about waging violent jihad, but that does not seem to be true.
Instead, the husband-and-wife duo were “showing signs in their communication of their joint commitment to jihad and to martyrdom” through private messages, rather than publicly visible postings, Comey said.
“Those communications are direct, private messages,” said Comey, according to The Washington Post.
The NYT report can be found here, titled “Visa Screening Missed an Attacker’s Zealotry on Social Media.”
That report was sourced to “American law enforcement officials.” The article then went on to blame immigration officials for supposedly not catching the elusive posts on social media.
So, apparently, the FBI director is now saying that there were no public posts pledging jihad, but remarks of that nature were made in “direct private messages.”
On Wednesday, the New York Times wrote, “The New York Times reported on Sunday that Ms. Malik had talked openly about jihad on social media before she applied for a visa to come to the United States. While those remarks were made online, Mr. Comey said, they were ‘direct private messages’ and not easily accessed. Nevertheless, the F.B.I. was able to obtain them in the days since the attacks.”
On Monday, The Los Angeles Times wrote that Malik had “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,” according to Richard A. Serrano. That would seem more accurate, because it mentions private messages, not public posts. That bit of information is sourced to “two top federal law enforcement officials.”
However, the Washington Post states: “Comey declined to identify which social network the communication appeared on.” So, we don’t even know if it was on Facebook, or if it was just an e-mail.
The LA Times article also questions the legitimacy of U.S. anti-terrorism officials. “The new details indicate U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies missed warnings on social media that Malik was a potential threat before she entered the United States on a K-1 fiancee visa in July 2014,” writes Serrano, who notes that FBI agents “recovered” the messages.
So, long story short: the FBI claims there were no public posts pledging jihad, though there were private messages, and he doesn’t say that it was on Facebook.
Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz stated: “It’s not a lack of competence that is preventing the Obama administration from stopping these attacks. It is political correctness. We didn’t monitor the Facebook posting of the female San Bernardino terrorist because the Obama DHS thought it would be inappropriate. She made a public call to jihad, and they didn’t target it.”
Police have said that Malik wrote a Facebook post pledging allegiance to the Islamic State on the day of the attack, though Comey’s statement Wednesday addressed earlier alleged social media activity.
There is no longer a Facebook account for Tashfeen Malik in California to be found online.