The FBI announced Wednesday that the San Bernardino shooters did not openly post on social media about jihad, but did have conversations about martyrdom using “private direct messages,” BBC News reports.
During a conference in New York on Wednesday, FBI Director James Comey revealed the findings. Officials were slammed for not checking Tashfeen Malik’s social media accounts before allowing her U.S. residency in 2014. Malik joined her husband Syed Farook in carrying out the shooting deaths of 14 people at Farook’s job in San Bernardino, Calif. earlier this month.
The FBI discovered that in 2013, the couple exchanged private conversations in Urdu about jihad on a social media service.
Many have speculated the server was Facebook, but it hasn’t been confirmed.
Background checks on the couple did not discover the messages.
Comey stressed that Americans should not be “jittery” following these new reports. He added that threats from the Islamic group are hugely different from the days of the 9/11 attacks thanks to social media.
Via ABC News:
He said the threat from the Islamic State group has not changed — but it’s vastly different from how terror cells operated around the time of the Sept. 11 attack.
“Your parents’ al-Qaida is a very different model and was a very different threat that what we face today,” he said.
The message is so much easier to receive now, he said. Islamic State operatives reach out via social media, and they want eager followers to join the fight at the Syria-Iraq border or kill where they are. And they use encrypted messaging programs that no one can access — not even the companies who make them.
The San Bernardino shootings have been described as an act of terror. Previous reports claimed they were inspired by the Islamic State, but that has yet to be confirmed.