The killing of 14, and injuring of 21 others, is being investigated as an act of terrorism, the FBI announced today.
The agency noted that their probe into the mass shooting indicates that the suspects may have been radicalized, and are not part of a terror cell. Officials said they’ve also uncovered many clues by following the suspects digital footprint.
NewsCenter 7’s John Bedell was in Cedarville today to speak with expert Frank Jenista, a former U.S. diplomat of 25 years. After retiring from the U.S. State Department, Jenista started working at his alma mater, Cedarville University, as a political science professor.
“It’s of considerable concern to us because this is the ISIS ideal,” Jenista said, of news the female suspect Tashfeen Malik had pledged allegiance to ISIS on social media.
“Self-recruited, self-radicalized people who operate normally in the United States … good responsible job … He (Syed Rizwan Farook) gave off no signals. His own family didn’t know,” Jenista said. “This is what makes the army of silent soldiers, as I like to call them, so dangerous.”
Jenista said since Sept. 11, 2001, Americans have been on “ultra alert.” The FBI announced last week it has picked up over 50 “ISIS wannabes” here in U.S.
Jenista plainly said those are the “dumb” terrorists.
“If you get a smart terrorist … they stay silent and invisible,” Jenista said.
Jenista said due to the amount of weapons and ammunition Farook and Malik accumulated, it was clear they had plans to carry out a terrorist attack at some point. He said perhaps an argument at the county holiday party was the trigger.
“This is the new wave; this is what IS wants. And it has the effect of dividing America,” Jenista said. “Obviously the vast majority of Muslims living in the United States are living quite peacefully with their neighbors.”
But with 1.3 billion Muslims around the world, a half of 1 percent “is still a huge number of people,” he said of radical Muslims.
“We have to be very careful we don’t get into the business of throwing in the Muslims who are quite willing to live peacefully with their American neighbors, with others,” Jenista said. “But it still means we need to be on our guard.”
Jenista said the best estimates indicate ISIS has 20,000 foreigners fighting for them, including thousands in European countries and an estimated 150 Americans.
He said the new wave of self-recruitment starts off with curiosity - then visiting ISIS websites, listening to sermons, and identifying as a “true believer” radical.
Farook and Malik left behind their six-month-old baby.
“This is a first that a husband and wife essentially launched their jihad together,” Jenista said. “How brain washed do you have to be, how committed do you have to be, to know that you’re going down and going to commit the most mayhem you can before you go, and you are willing to leave behind your six-month-old?”
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