San Bernardino Shooter Reportedly Had Photos of School on Phone; May Have Planned Attack in 2012

Christine Rousselle
Posted: Dec 09, 2015 9:30 AM
San Bernardino Shooter Reportedly Had Photos of School on Phone; May Have Planned Attack in 2012

New reports released on Tuesday indicate that San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook may have planned more attacks than the shooting that occurred last week. Investigators have reportedly found pictures of a local high school on his phone, as well as evidence that suggests Farook and another individual may have been planning an attack in 2012.

While Farook inspected food preparation facilities for his job, the FBI found it necessary to search the school pictured on his cell phone. And while the FBI is trying to assure people that there's no solid evidence that Farook and/or Malik planned on attacking a school, other counterterrorism experts disagree.

FBI officials close to the investigation say they have no definitive evidence campuses were specified targets of attack by Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, who sympathized with the ISIS terror group.

Others, though, aren’t so sure.

“That tells me that he is doing close reconnaissance of a target area. They want to look at ingress routes, the egress routes and the centers of large population like a cafeteria,” said former Green Beret Lt. Col. Scott Mann, a counterterrorism expert who trained more than 15,000 special forces personnel during his 23 years in the Army. “It looks like a duck, quacks like a duck.”

And this fits with ISIS’ explicitly stated agenda, Mann said.

In 2012, it appears as though Farook and his partner got "spooked" by anti-terrorism arrests in the area and decided not to go through with the attack or any further planning.

One of the officials said the two conspired in 2012 and a specific target was considered. Neither of the officials could say how serious the plotting got.

One official said the two decided not to go through with the earlier attack after a round of terror-related arrests in the area.

"They got spooked," the official said.

Tashfeen Malik, Farook's wife and co-assailant in the attack, entered the United States in July 2014 on a K1 "fiancee" Visa. Farook had traveled to Saudi Arabia less than two weeks before and returned with Malik. It is unknown if they had interacted prior to his visit to Saudi Arabia.

While it was suggested that Malik had radicalized Farook, it's entirely likely (and, I'd say, probable) that he was at the very least on the road to radicalization before he even met her.

Malik and Farook were both killed on Wednesday afternoon during a massive shootout with the police.