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Syed Rizwan Farook, the 28-year man who, with his wife, Tashfeen Malik, killed fourteen and injured twenty-one people in a San Bernardino social service center Wednesday, had been in contact with at least two international terrorism subjects who were already being monitored by the FBI, according to reports on Homeland Security News Wire.
CNN reports that Farook had been in touch with these international terrorism figures on social media, and that he had also contacted them by phone on several occasions.
FBI analysts told CNN that if this information checks out, it may mean that Farouk and his wife may have become radicalized in the months leading up to the deadly attack.
The Washington Post reports that police now say that Farook and Malik fired between 70 and 75 rounds as they entered the Inland Regional Centre in San Bernardino on Wednesday morning. The couple, armed with semi-automatic rifle and hand-guns, and wearing bullet-proof vests, also left a home-made pipe bomb at the building.
Their black SUV was surrounded by police in a nearby residential area, and the couple was killed in the shootout that followed. The police found 1,400 .223 ammunition and 200 9mm rounds in the SUV.
The house in nearby Redlands, where the couple lived, police found more than 2,500 rounds of .223 ammunition, 2,000 bullets for the hand guns and twelve pipe bombs.
In the couple’s home, the police also found tools typically used in the production of more bombs.
On CNN, Dr. Kris Mohandie, a clinical psychologist, said that the fact that the couple attacked fellow workers in a social services center, which could not be construed as a high-value target for terrorists, lends support to the idea that the attack was work-related, but this does not necessarily mean that terrorism-related issues were not involved.
Until Wednesday’s attack, neither Farook nor Malik was known to the FBI or on a list of potentially radicalized individuals to be tracked.
After President Obama received an update on the San Bernardino investigation Saturday, the White House released a statement saying “The President’s team also affirmed 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.” The president’s speech aired the day after it was revealed that Malik had pledged her support to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi by using a Facebook account that was created under an alias.
A federal source cautioned that investigators had no reason to believe ISIS had played a role in plotting the attack. Instead, the FBI is exploring the idea that the couple may have become “self-radicalized” somehow, taking their inspiration from ISIS.