Investigators have discovered a deposit of $28,500 made to the account of Syed Farook about two weeks before the San Bernardino jihad attack. It may prove to be further evidence of premeditation – and, depending on where the money came from, possible evidence of collusion.
Contrary to the early media impression of a couple that swiftly and suddenly radicalized shortly before the attack – a storyline which would let the Obama Administration off the hook for failing to detect them – investigators now believe Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik turned radical some time ago, and had significant connections to the online jihad.
The deposit was reported by Fox News, whose sources say investigators are “exploring whether the transaction was a loan taken out by Farook.” Over the following weeks, he withdrew $10,000 in cash, and then made at least three transfers of $5,000, apparently to his mother.
It is speculated that the big cash withdrawal was for payment to Enrique Marquez, the alleged straw purchaser of the rifles used in the shooting. Marquez, a neighbor of Syed Farook’s, checked himself into a mental health facility after the attack.
Farook’s mother, Rafia Farook, lived with the terrorist couple, has ties to radical Islamist organizations, and is currently under investigation by the FBI for possible connections to the case. It also seems unlikely that she did not notice the 15 pipe bombs and thousands of rounds of ammunition her son and his wife kept in her house.
“The deposit came via Utah-based WebBank.com, which describes itself as ‘a leading provider of national consumer and commercial private-label and bank card financing programs’ on a nationwide basis,” says the report. When Fox News tried to contact WebBank.com, they were told the organization was “not talking to the press.”
Farook’s bank, Union Bank, also declined to comment on specific questions, and said they were “cooperating to the full extent of the law with the agencies conducting investigations into this tragedy.”
Further evidence of pre-meditation for the attack comes from an L.A. Times report that Farook and Malik had been “radicalized for quite some time,” contrary to speculation that they turned radical fairly recently and suddenly. One of their possible radical connections is Mohamed Abdullahi Hassan, aka “Mujahid Miski,” an ISIS recruiter who has also been linked to the attack on the Mohammed Art Contest in Garland, Texas. The State Department announced on Monday that Hassan has turned himself into the authorities in Somalia, where he has been hiding out.
Investigators also discovered the San Bernardino couple frequently practiced shooting at a local gun range, including one session just a few days before they opened fire on Farook’s office Christmas party.
“Authorities have said it appears Farook, 28, and Malik, 29, did a great amount of planning before the attack,” the L.A. Times reports.
Another hint of pre-meditation mentioned in the Fox News report is the rental of the SUV used by the couple to flee the scene of the shooting. A charge for rental processing was posted to Farook’s account on November 30, two days before the attack.
Update: On Tuesday afternoon, two U.S. officials leaked another intriguing tidbit of information to CNN, saying “there are indications the couple were on the path to believing terrorism was the answer before the Islamic State terror group declared itself to be a caliphate in June 2014.”