The San Bernardino shooting rampage that killed 14 people and injured 21 others has been investigated as domestic terrorism "since at least Thursday morning," Rep. Peter King told Newsmax TV
"Despite what the president may have been saying at the time and others in the administration from early on, the investigation was definitely in the direction of terrorism," the New York Republican told "The Steve Malzberg Show" in an interview. "If we weren't so politically correct, they probably would have said it earlier than that."
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"But definitely, the emphasis here was on terrorism and with each hour that goes by," King added. "There's more and more evidence that clearly this was linked to Islamist terrorism."
"The only question remaining, or the main question remaining, is were they acting on their own? Were there others involved?"
"Is there a cell?" King asked. "Is this part of a nationwide series of attacks here in the U.S. or a California attack? Or was it just these two people carrying out this one attack?"
David Bowdich, assistant director of the FBI's Los Angeles office, said Friday that the attacks Wednesday at the Inland Regional Center were being investigated
as "an act of terrorism."
"I do want to go forward today and tell you that as of today based on the information and the facts as we know them, we are now investigating these horrific acts as an act of terrorism," Bowdich said. "We have uncovered evidence that has led us to learn of extensive planning."
That evidence included high-powered rifles, explosives and large rounds of ammunition, he said.
Bowdich added that investigators have also uncovered evidence that the two shooting suspects — Tashfeen Malik, 27, and her husband, Syed Rizwan Farook, 28 — "attempted to destroy their digital fingerprints."
The couple, who had been married for two years and had a 6-month-old daughter, were killed later Wednesday in a gun battle with police.
"We found cell phones in a nearby trash can," Bowdich said. "The cell phones were actually crushed. We have retained those cell phones, and we do continue to exploit the data."
"We do hope that the digital fingerprints left by these two individuals will take us towards their motivation," he said. "That evidence is incredibly important."
Earlier Friday, intelligence officials disclosed that Malik had pledged allegiance to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and that the U.S. was pressing their investigation overseas with Pakistan.
She had also passed Department of Homeland Security screening for a fiancée visa when Farook brought her to the United States.
"They had so much information on her compared to the Syrian refugees, it makes you realize how really inadequate the vetting system is," King told Malzberg. "Here's a person who they had all the time to investigate — apparently they knew where she was from, who she was — and still she was able to pass a vetting test."
"So, you can imagine what it's like with Syrian refugees coming in when you don't know who they are, where they're from, what they've been up to. It shows the danger."
"There should be extra-stringent tests," King said. "It should be really difficult for them to get into the country, in view of their coming from a country that is just overflowing with terrorism."
The congressman further slammed President Barack Obama for refusing to directly confront the threat of radical Islam.
"It's just a reluctance, an inability of this administration, to face reality — that we face the evil of Islamic jihad," King told Malzberg.
"He genuinely believes — I don't even see malice here — I think he genuinely believes that, somehow if he keeps reaching out the hand of friendship, if he doesn't use words like 'Islamist,' if he doesn't mention the Muslim community, somehow they're going to respond and we're all going to live happily ever after and hold hands."
"It's a terrible, terrible situation," the representative continued. "The American people are getting nervous. They are getting anxious — and that's not the style of the American people."
"The reason they're getting that way is they don't see national leadership," King said. "No matter how serious a threat is, if you have a strong leader at the top, that will mobilize the people."
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