Law enforcement officials and reporters continue to plug new information into the still mysterious timeline of the lives of Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, but now the emerging picture has been framed by one stunning, but not surprising, piece of information.
The bottom line: Deadly violence linked to ISIS has come to the United States, either through online poison or through contacts during visits to Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. The answer, of course, could be "both-and." Were two people -- alone -- really gong to use all of those pipe bombs and thousands of round of ammunition, while taking care of a 6-month-old baby?
Early on, reporters (and law officials, one can assume) were surprised to find little online evidence that Farook and Malik existed. Now it's clear -- in another sign of premeditation and planning -- that they had attempted to wipe their cyber slates clean.
But that's almost impossible, which led to today's big revelation. Here is the CNN link:
Authorities are officially investigating the San Bernardino, California, massacre as "an act of terrorism," FBI official David Bowdich said Friday.
Bowdich said a number of pieces of evidence pushed authorities to launch a terrorism investigation. He noted some phone conversations between at least one of the San Bernardino shooters and others are being investigated by federal officials. ...
Investigators think that as the San Bernardino, California, massacre was happening, female shooter Tashfeen Malik posted a pledge of allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi on Facebook, three U.S. officials familiar with the investigation told CNN. Malik's post was made on an account with a different name, one U.S. official said.
Several major newsrooms have now published long features built on emerging information about Farook and the still very mysterious figure that is Malik, his wife. In addition to CNN, that includes The New York Times, The Washington Post and an unusually straightforward news piece at The Daily Beast.
Compared with earlier coverage, it is striking how much of the new information that is emerging is linked to religion and, in particular, the degree to which Farook was known as a devout, practicing Muslim -- while also leaving clues that he may have believed that he was now practicing the faith on another level and might need to leave America.