A few observations about the shootings

  1. Obama assured Americans that there was no indication that there would be an attack in America like the attack in Paris: “the president also went out of his way to stress there was “no specific and credible intelligence indicating a plot on the homeland”. To me it looks like a small scale copycat attack.
  2. The woman Tafsheen Malik was vetted by Homeland Security, the same organization that is supposed to vet Syrian refugees to assure that no terrorists get into the United States. Malik pledged allegiance to ISIS on her Facebook page. As of November 17 the administration assured us:

     The Obama administration is defending its process for screening Syrian migrants as rigorous and safe, following the declaration of more than half the nation’s governors that they would not accept the refugees in their states.

    On Monday, Department of State spokesman Mark Toner said Syrian refugees go through stringent screening. “We stand by our process,” Toner said. “We take very seriously the security of the United States.”

  3. The FBI is reluctant to call it a terrorist attack because the shooters did not go after a high profile target but after a Christmas party in a poor, largely unknown city. My guess is that the shooters thought they had been detected (which apparently had not been the case), and decided to go after a close, easy target before they were arrested. They had an enormous amount of ammunition (more than 1,600 rounds of ammunition with them and another 4,500 at their house) and a bomb making facility:

The attackers who killed 14 at a San Bernardino holiday party had set up a bomb-making factory in their home garage and planned to use Christmas tree lights to set off their explosives, according to documents obtained by NBC News.

When law enforcement searched the residence of Syed Farook and Tafsheen Malik at 53 North Center Street in Redlands, California, 8 miles from the site of Wednesday’s attack, they found that “the garage was set up as a bomb making facility including metal-working equipment.

San Bernardino car

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