SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (CBSNewYork/AP) — FBI Director James Comey says the two San Bernardino shooters were radicalized at least two years ago and had discussed jihad and martyrdom as early as 2013.
Comey told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday that Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, were radicalized even before they met online.
“As early as the end of 2013 they were talking to each other about Jihad and martyrdom before they became engaged and then married and lived together in the United States,” Comey said.
The couple wed last year.
Comey also said the couple was inspired by foreign terror organizations and described them as “homegrown violent extremists.”
The radicalization could include Enrique Marquez — a friend who is related to Farook by marriage. A U.S. official told CBS News the FBI is investigating whether Farook and Marquez were planning a violent attack as far back as 2012 — and discussed buying weapons. But a round of terrorism arrests in California in late 2012 may have scuttled the alleged plan, CBS2’s Dick Brennan reported.
Senators wanted to know if there were missed signs, and if their marriage was part of the plot.
“How come we didn’t know about these communications before the attacks?” Senator Charles Schumer asked.
“Is there any evidence that this marriage was arranged by a terrorist organization or a terrorist operative?” Senator Lindsey Graham, of South Carolina, asked.
“I don’t know the answer to that yet,” Comey replied.
Sources told CBS News the Justice Department is looking to charge Marquez — who provided some of the guns used in the attack — with material support of terrorism. He’s also being questioned by the FBI over what he may have known about Farook and Malik’s plans.
Comey said the investigation is continuing.
(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)