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Homeland Security

FBI: California Shooters Radicalized for 'Some Time'

by VOA News December 08, 2015

The husband and wife who killed 14 people and wounded 21 others in California practiced shooting before the attack and had been radicalized 'for some time,' according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

An FBI official told reporters Monday investigators are still looking into how long U.S.-born Syed Rizwan Farook and his Pakistani wife, Tashfeen Malik, were planning the attack, but that the couple went to several gun ranges to practice, including one time within days of the mass killing at a gathering of local government workers.

David Bowdich, the FBI's assistant director in charge of its Los Angeles field office, said it is possible the shooters were radicalized through the Internet and not through an in-person connection.

Bowdich said investigators still want to know the details of their radicalization, but that there is no evidence at this point that they were part of a broader, overseas plot.

Federal officials said Malik pledged allegiance to an Islamic State militant leader in a Facebook post and that Farook had contact with individuals linked to terror groups.

Killed in shootout

Malik and Farook fled the shooting site together, but police later found their vehicle and killed the couple in a shootout.

Local officials said there would be increased security in the area that is still coming to terms with what President Barack Obama called an 'act of terrorism designed to kill innocent people.'

In a rare televised address from the Oval Office late Sunday, Obama discussed the attack and sought to reassure Americans on the U.S. strategy to combat terror. The president said the two killers had embraced 'a perverted interpretation of Islam.'

Obama said the United States has hardened its defenses against terrorist threats. He noted intelligence and law enforcement agencies have disrupted countless plots, both at home and overseas.

He said the U.S. military and counterterrorism professionals have relentlessly pursued terrorist networks overseas, disrupting safe havens in several different countries.

'All too common'

But he noted that over the past few years, terrorists are turning to what he called 'less complicated acts of violence' like the mass shootings that he said are 'all too common in our society,' including the San Bernardino attack as one example.

Although Obama said his administration is constantly examining its counterterrorism strategy to see if additional steps are needed to protect Americans, his speech included no new policy changes or announcements.

Instead, he sought to reassure the American public that he and his administration are taking the threat of terrorism seriously.

Obama said Congress should act to make sure no one on the U.S. no-fly list is able to buy a gun.

He also reiterated his call for lawmakers to tighten U.S. gun laws, saying no matter how effective law enforcement and intelligence are, they cannot identify every would-be shooter.

The president called it a matter of national security to prevent potential killers from getting guns.

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