San Bernardino shooter pledged allegiance to ISIS on Facebook

She used a pseudonym.

Feb 29, 2020, 3:05 pm*

Tech

 

Patrick Howell O'Neill

The female suspected shooter in the recent massacre in San Bernardino, California, reportedly pledged allegiance the leader of the Islamic State on Facebook during the attacks.

Tashfeen Malik, 27, used a pseudonym on Facebook to declare her loyalty to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS, according to CNN, which cited three unnamed investigators. The officials did not explain to reporters how they knew Malik made the post.

Police say Malik and her husband Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, killed 14 people and injured 21 others at a holiday party for the San Bernardino County Department of Health, where Farook worked. The party was held in a conference hall at the Inland Regional Center, a facility that provides services for people with developmental disabilities. 

Both Malik and Farook were killed during a shootout with police following the attack at Inland RC.

The CNN report was quickly corroborated by the New York Times, which also cited unnamed law-enforcement officials. According to one official, Malik and Farook were likely not operating under the orders of ISIS leadership. 

“At this point we believe they were more self-radicalized and inspired by the group than actually told to do the shooting,” the official told the Times.

The Department of Justice declined our request to comment.

Malik was born in Pakistan and recently lived in Saudi Arabia. Farook was a U.S. citizen born in Illinois to Pakistani parents. The couple reportedly met online, and may have first met each other in person in Saudi Arabia, where Farook traveled in July of last year.

The online activity of Malik and Farook took center stage in the ongoing investigation on Thursday. Investigators said they were looking at the couple’s social media accounts as well as thumb drives and computers seized from their home, in an attempt to gain insight on the motivation behind the attacks.

The new reports still leave many questions.

It’s not exactly clear how or when she posted the pledge. Moreover, further details about their activity remains unknown, including when the plot may have begun and whether or not there was substantial contact between the attackers and foreign operatives.

Update 10:33am CT, Dec. 4: Additional contextual details about Malik and Farook added.

H/T CNN | Illustration by Max Fleishman

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*First Published: Dec 4, 2015, 1:17 pm