October 19, 2021


police in californiaWASHINGTON — The woman who helped carry out the shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., on Wednesday had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in a Facebook posting, according to federal law enforcement officials.

There’s no evidence the group directed the woman, Tashfeen Malik, and her husband Syed Rizwan Farook, to launch the attacks, which killed 14 and wounded 21, said the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the investigation is continuing.

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

The posting had been removed from the social media site and it’s not clear when federal authorities obtained it.

In the days leading up to the shooting, the couple took several steps to delete their electronic information, in an apparent effort to cover their tracks, officials said. Those efforts have led authorities to believe that the shooting was premeditated.

Islamic terrorists have used the oath of allegiance, called a bayat, to declare their loyalty to specific groups and leaders. To become a member of Al Qaeda, for instance, terrorists historically swore their devotion to Osama bin Laden.

As investigators search for signs of a political or religious motivation for the massacre, the discovery of Ms. Malik’s Facebook posting has forced them to consider whether any radical impetus for it came from her more than from the husband, or from both. The couple were killed in a shootout with the police after the attack.

Ms. Malik, 27, was born in Pakistan and traveled on a Pakistani passport, but had recently lived in Saudi Arabia. Mr. Farook, 28, was a United States citizen, born in Illinois, whose parents were from Pakistan.

He had posted profiles on Muslim dating websites, and apparently they met online. He told co-workers last year that he was traveling to Saudi Arabia to meet his bride, and both American and Saudi officials have confirmed that he spent more than a week in that country in July 2014.