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THE SITUATION ROOM
Interview With Idaho Senator James Risch; Mass Shooting Investigation; First Photo of Female Shooter Released; FBI: Investigating Shooting as Act of Terrorism. Aired 18-19:00p ET
Aired December 4, 2015 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Do their possessions shed any new light on what led them to mass murder?
The investigation, the FBI taking over the probe now in charge of multiple crime scene locations and trying to uncover connections between two killers and other possible extremists. Did they come to terror on their own, or were other people radicalized along with them?
We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZER: We're following the breaking news: a flurry of major developments tonight in the San Bernardino shooting massacre.
The FBI now saying it's investigating the case as an act of terror, and new information about the husband and wife who killed 14 people underscoring an apparent terror connection. CNN has learned that officials now believe Tashfeen Malik posted a Pledge of Allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi on Facebook during the rampage.
And, tonight, the terror group is praising the attack, but not claiming responsibility.
Also now, a first look inside the killers' home, the landlord allowing CNN and other news media organizations access after law enforcement wrapped up their work.
Attorneys representing the couple's family just finished a news conference. They said the relatives knew nothing of it beforehand and they are totally shocked.
We're covering all that, much more this hour with our guests, including Senator James Risch. He's a member of the Senate Intelligence and Foreign Relations Committees. And our correspondents and expert analysts, they're also standing by.
Let's begin with CNN's justice correspondent, Pamela Brown. She's in San Bernardino for us.
Pamela, major new developments in the case tonight. Update our viewers.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Wolf.
The FBI saying today new information has come to light which has moved the dial for the FBI to now say that this is a terrorist investigation. One of the key pieces of evidence, this Facebook post by Farook's wife pledging alliance to al-Baghdadi. Wolf, this could possibly be the worst terrorist attack since 9/11.
DAVID BOWDICH, FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: 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.
BROWN (voice-over): For the first time, the FBI is calling the attacks in San Bernardino terrorism. Surrounding the chaos, investigators say Syed Farook's wife, Tashfeen Malik, was on Facebook pledging her allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Malik's post was made on an account with a different name, one official said.
BOWDICH: We have also uncovered evidence that these subjects had -- they attempted to destroy their digital fingerprints.
BROWN: CNN has learned two smashed cell phones believed to be the couple's were recovered from a garbage can near one of the crime scenes. And a computer found at the shooter's home was missing a hard drive. Investigators suspect it might have been destroyed.
Authorities hope the digital footprint they can recover will reveal more about the motive.
BOWDICH: That will take time. But I truly believe that's going to be the potential golden nuggets, but we just don't know yet.
BROWN: Inside Farook's house, police found a virtual bomb-making laboratory with smokeless powder and remote control cars, like the one found in the suspect's car. They also found a cache of nearly 5,000 rounds of ammunition.
Now we're also learning they had tools to alter the AR-15s they had, including at least one that was turned into a fully automatic weapon. And CNN has learned Farook's former roommate legally purchased those guns several years ago.
QUESTION: Is there someone detained that gave them the rifles?
BOWDICH: There is a person of -- we don't know -- OK, let me go back on that one. There is some differentiations there. There is a person that we know of their location who purchased those weapons, but I'm going to let ATF answer the questions on the guns, because that's what they are here for.
QUESTION: Is this person in custody?
BOWDICH: The person is not under arrest at this point. BROWN: Tonight investigators are looking whether the couple was
self-radicalized, since there are no indications they were part of a larger cell.
JAMES COMEY, FBI DIRECTOR: So far, we have no indication that these killers are part of an organized larger group or form part of a cell. There's no indication that they are part of a network.
BROWN: And, today, the police chief addressed those concerns of a terror cell, saying that there was a suspicious incident in San Bernardino on Monday night, where an individual who appeared to be from the Middle East approached a security guard at a movie theater, raised alarm bells.
But the police chief said, at this point, there doesn't appear to be any connection here with this couple. Also important to note that while it does appear that they may have been inspired by ISIS, officials we have been speaking with say there is no evidence at this stage in the investigation that they were directed by the terrorist group to carry out the attack -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Pamela Brown reporting for us, thanks very much.
Let's get some more now on that extraordinary news conference that you may have seen live here on CNN only moments ago.
Attorneys representing the shooters' family sharing new details about Farook and his wife, Malik. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID S. CHESLEY, ATTORNEY FOR FAROOK'S FAMILY: She was a housewife. She took care of the child. The mother lived with them at the house. So she was primarily a housewife. She had only come over here in 2014.
QUESTION: How would you characterize her as a mother?
CHESLEY: I do not really want to...
QUESTION: We know from the family -- from what the family had to say...
CHESLEY: Well, she's only been a mother for about six months, so the family just knew her as she was caring, she was soft-spoken, just very basic information, what they have seen of her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Let's bring in our chief national correspondent, Jim Sciutto.
Jim, we watched that news conference. New information did emerge. Among other things, his mother, the grandmother of the six- month-old actually lived with them in that townhouse.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: That's right, lived with them, but they said was often separated from them, so had no knowledge of the activities that were alleged to have gone on in that house, including building bombs in the backyard, amassing this enormous arsenal of ammunition and these weapons, et cetera.
They say the family in general did not know what was going on. They are shocked and surprised by this, but in addition to that, you heard from the lawyers, these lawyers for Syed Rizwan Farook, the male shooter, in effect attempting to undermine the FBI's argument today or the FBI's revelation today that they are now investigating this as an act of terrorism, sometimes vehemently making the argument, sometimes somewhat bizarrely.
Here is what one of the lawyers had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHESLEY: All there is -- and this is much the frustration I think of the FBI and everyone, because we all want, we all want an answer. We all are angry. We're all frustrated. We're all sad. We want justice.
But, unfortunately, some things in life aren't as clear-cut as that. And all there is thus far is some nebulous thing that somebody looked at something on Facebook. Any one of us may have looked at something on Facebook. It doesn't mean we believe in it.
I have checked out a Britney Spears post and I hate Britney Spears' music. It doesn't mean that you condone whatever you look at or read you fully believe and you're acting on behalf of whatever you look at or read.
We just have to be protective of religious freedom in our country, of our Fourth Amendment rights.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: To be clear, U.S. officials telling CNN not that one of the shooters checked out a Web site on Facebook, but rather posted a pledge of alliance to the ISIS leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, as this deadly rampage was under way.
And, of course, in addition to that, Wolf, the FBI and other law enforcement sources have told us that, Farook, the male shooter, had been in touch with known terrorism suspects in advance. Those are signs the FBI is looking at that make them investigate this as an act of terrorism, not just checking out a Web site, but these collection of sites.
To be clear, they haven't made a definitive judgment, but that is now how they are investigating it.
BLITZER: Because the lawyer is making the point that, yes, there were thousands of rounds of ammunition in the house, but he liked to do target practice and if you buy thousands of rounds of ammunition, that's useful because you can get it at a lower price.
But he didn't explain why there were, what, 12 improvised devices or pipe bombs that were being built in the garage.
SCIUTTO: Well, in fact, he said that other members of the family had been in the garage. He even mentioned, the lawyer, play dates that took place in the garage.
But apparently the shooter and his wife were able to conceal their activities from their other family members. That is -- the lawyer did make this point. That is at least possible. We have certainly seen that with other shootings, whether terrorism or not, where the family members did not know what was happening.
BLITZER: Right. That's totally understandable. Maybe family members had no clue of what was going on.
He did suggest though that maybe this wasn't terrorism, but workplace-oriented, because someone at that county health facility where he worked made fun of him because of his beard.
SCIUTTO: That's right. And that's not the only example of religious tension in the office that we have heard about. We have heard colleagues talk about angry discussions about the state of Israel between Farook and one of his Jewish colleagues there.
So -- and to be clear, the FBI and others have not eliminated that as a driving force here, as one driving force, that there was tension in the office. And there is some precedent for there being more than one driving force for an act like this, a violent act like this, but to be clear, they are certainly investigating terrorism as an influence as well.
BLITZER: And the lawyers made the point, made it clear forcefully, as you just explained as well, the family members were totally shocked, had no idea these two individuals could commit such a heinous, heinous crime.
All right, thanks very much, Jim Sciutto, for that.
Let's talk all of this and more with Republican Senator James Risch of Idaho. He's a member of the Intelligence Committee, as well as the Foreign Relations Committee.
Senator, thanks for joining us.
Tashfeen Malik, the wife, declared allegiance to ISIS during the attack, according to this post on Facebook, given another name, but authorities believe it was she who did that. Do you know how she and her husband, Syed Rizwan Farook, were perhaps inspired, if not formally directed by ISIS?
SEN. JAMES RISCH (R), IDAHO: Well, you know, Wolf, there is some really interesting aspects of this.
I think, first of all, this last piece you did about talking about workplace violence and all that, we need to set this aside. Look, America has been visited by ISIS, either directed or inspired. Now, I know there is people saying, well, there is no evidence of this being directed.
I don't doubt that there is no evidence, hard evidence at this moment, but you and I both know that, over recent months, all terrorist communications have moved to the dark Web. And that is not penetratable by the intelligence community at this point.
And as a result of that, it's hard to believe that with all this having gone on, these people weren't communicating with somebody. And in addition to that, the suspicion that adds to it, of course, is the missing hard drive. We need to set all that stuff aside, call this what it is. It's a terrorist attack and it was done by two people who have been radicalized.
Interestingly enough, a number of us when we saw this unfold were immediately hit by the possibility that the female in this had an oversized role in it. And the more this rolled out, the more it became apparent that she had a major role, if not the major role in this.
It's frightening, because it doesn't take a large leap of the imagination to think that it's possible that ISIS has found a backdoor in using the type of visa that she used. You had a man here who by all accounts had spent almost three decades here without getting into any kind of trouble, without being radicalized, without visiting sites that are radical sites.
And then all of a sudden, he hooks up with this woman that more and more and more is looking like a black widow. And then she comes here a year ago and a year and four months later, they got a house full of bombs and ammunition and rifles that are used for this sort of thing, and they go out and do this.
I mean, it's just -- there is some aspects to this that are very troubling and they are going to be studied closely in the coming days and weeks.
BLITZER: So, Senator, are you suggesting that perhaps she was sent here? I don't want to put words in your mouth, but is there any indication she was actually sent to the United States to do what she did?
RISCH: Wolf, there is no evidence to that effect, direct evidence, but the circumstances are very, very suspicious, where she gets hooked up through either the Internet or the travel that this gentleman took and then comes over here as his fiancee, and slightly over a year later, all of this stuff unfolds. It doesn't take much of an imagination to think that if you had
people that wanted to do this, that they could train her in bomb- making, they could train her in a Paris type of an attack, they could get her hooked up with a type-B personality individual who was easily led, put her in a position to do this and away they went.
BLITZER: Senator, we're getting some new information from the government of Saudi Arabia right now about her two visits from Pakistan before she came here to the United States.
I'm going to share that information with you and our viewers when we come back. Stand by for a moment.
The killers' home, also, the news media given an extraordinary look inside. We have more on all the breaking news coming into THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: We're back with Republican Senator James Risch of Idaho. He's a member of the Intelligence Committee.
We're following the breaking news tonight, the FBI now investigating the San Bernardino shooting massacre as an act of terrorism.
And in an extraordinary move, CNN and other news organizations were allowed inside the killers' home. The landlord invited journalist inside after law enforcement officials finished their search there.
CNN's Victor Blackwell is joining us from Redlands, California, right next to San Bernardino.
And, Victor, we got this amazing up-close look at how this couple lived.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Wolf.
I had really never seen anything like what happened today, much less had been a part of a moment like that. The landlord invited us inside the home of the San Bernardino shooters to see the evidence, of course, of the raid, but also the life they left behind.
BLACKWELL (voice-over): As the door was pried open, a dramatic scene as a crush of reporters and camera crews were invited inside the townhouse rented by Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik.
The couple's landlord invites the media to look inside the home with no objection from the FBI. DAVID BOWDICH, FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: We executed a search
warrant on that apartment. And last night, we turned that over back to the residents. Once the residents have the apartment and we're not in it anymore, we don't control it.
QUESTION: When did you get notice you could come back in here?
DOYLE MILLER, LANDLORD: Last night about 8:00, 9:00. So, this is unreal.
BLACKWELL: Around the apartment, signs of life familiar to families everywhere, clutter in the kitchen, toys belonging to the couple's six-month-old daughter scattered on the floor, but it's here in the couple's bedroom closet where you find a sign of the intense investigation that took place, as CNN's Stephanie Elam discovered during a tour of the home.
STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Here, you can see where they smashed up into the ceiling to take a look to see what was up there. It does appear based on how much debris is on the ground, that there was an effort to get up there and make sure that they checked every crevice of this back bedroom.
BLACKWELL: Personal identification and other documents belonging to Farook's mother were left scattered on the bed. Evidence of the couple's devout faith are also scene throughout the apartment, a prayer rug on the wall, various books on the subject of Islam, even prayer beads left on the edge of the bed.
And here, in a corner, the crib belonging to their baby girl left with her grandmother on the day of the shooting.
BLACKWELL: And, Wolf, there were more than reporters and photographers inside the home.
At one point, I saw a woman with a baby in her arms, another woman walking through with her dog. But after about an hour, the door was sealed again by friends of the owner's wife, and the owner was taken off in an unmarked law enforcement vehicle -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Victor Blackwell on the scene for us, Victor, thanks very much.
Senator Risch is still with us of the Intelligence Committee.
And I want to pursue some of your thinking, Senator, about this woman, the wife, Tashfeen Malik, 27 years old, originally from Pakistan. The government of Saudi Arabia has just told us she visited Saudi Arabia from Pakistan twice. In 2013, she was there in early October for 20 days, went on the hajj, the pilgrimage.
And then the following year, she was there for a few days in June of 2013. And she left to go back to -- she left to go back to Pakistan, presumably awaiting to get married with her husband, Syed Rizwan Farook.
Walk us through once again your thinking on her role, if in fact this was an act of terror inspired by ISIS.
RISCH: Well, Wolf, like I said, it doesn't take a lot of imagination.
If you're on the other side of this and you want a way into the United States -- and you and I have talked about this over the months. In February, I said that they had moved from the aspirational stage to the operational stage. And if you're on the other side of this thinking, how are you going to do this, how can you reach out and touch the United States, we have seen efforts.
There has been over 50 people already arrested this year for, many of them, making plans, taking steps towards hurting us. If you're on the other side of this and looking how am I going to do this, really, a very easy way to do it is to find a woman who has a deep commitment to this and is willing to make the full sacrifice, and put her in a position where you train her for bomb-making, train her for a Paris-style attack, and then get her on the Internet or at a place where people congregate for religious tourism in Saudi Arabia and hook them up with a person that is -- that they could influence.
This does not stretch the imagination at all, and it's relatively easy to get a fiancee visa to get into the country. That's exactly what happened here. It just strikes me that this thing is -- the way this happened, it just came together so neatly once they came to America back in July of 2014.
It just came together so easily. There had to have been some prior thought on this. This business of it being a workplace violence is just nonsense. You don't leave the workplace after an argument with somebody and go home and say, honey, put on your assault clothes and grab a few bombs and some assault rifles. We're going to go down and kill -- that just doesn't happen.
This was thought out. This was planned. And, obviously, they had somebody else who was advising them, inspiring them at the very least, if not directing them on the dark Web as to when and how to do this.
BLITZER: That -- if that is in fact true, it may explain why the FBI says that cell phones were destroyed at the scene of that townhouse.
Also, hard drives were destroyed inside as well. They have retrieved those cell phones, that hard drive from the computer. They are going through it to see if they can get some information out of that.
Do you have any information to believe they will get the information out of those hard drives and cell phones?
RISCH: I don't know that at this point. They don't know that at this point.
But, if they do get it, the difficulty, of course, as we have talked about before, is the dark Web exists for exactly these kinds of communications. So, whether you have it or whether you don't, it may not make any difference if they used the dark Web, which all of those people involved in those kinds of enterprises are using today.
BLITZER: Senator Risch, thanks very much for joining us.
RISCH: You bet.
BLITZER: We're going to follow up on your leads as well.
We're continuing to follow the breaking news here in THE SITUATION ROOM. We will go back live to San Bernardino and the latest on what is now being treated as an FBI-led terrorism investigation.
Plus, we also are getting some new details about that mysterious woman who took part in the killings. Officials believe she pledged allegiance to the leader of ISIS, there, you see him, Abu Bakr al- Baghdadi, while the actual massacre, the massacre of 14 people was taking place.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
[18:31:09] BLITZER: We have the breaking news, we're about to show you the first photo of the female shooter, Tashfeen Malik. There it is. It has just been published.
Let's go to our justice correspondent, Pamela Brown. She's on the scene for us in San Bernardino. All of a sudden, we now see the actual woman, her image, the photo of this 27-year-old woman from Pakistan.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. There's been so much mystery surrounding her, even the relatives of her husband said they rarely ever saw her face, because she wore a burka. And now we're seeing this picture, first obtained by ABC, of Tashfeen Malik, one of the two shooters, according to the FBI.
This is one of three pictures, I'm told by a law enforcement source who confirmed that this is her, that is in the databases at DHS, because as you know, she came here on a fiance visa, Wolf. She was living in Saudi Arabia, a Pakistani, born in Pakistan, moved to Saudi Arabia and then came here, believed in 2014 where she was -- came here with her husband on this fiance visa and then later obtained a green card and become a lawful permanent resident.
I'm told that this was not the picture she would have taken in the consulate. This is another picture that was taken through this process of her becoming a lawful permanent resident. Right now I can tell you, Wolf, the FBI is trying to dig up
anything they can on Tashfeen Malik. All we know right now publicly is that she apparently posted on Facebook just before the attack, pledging her allegiance to the ISIS leader, al-Baghdadi. Right now, the FBI has agents over in Pakistan trying to learn more about this woman, because so far there has been very little.
She wasn't on the FBI's radar. Even the relatives of her husband, as I said, didn't -- rarely saw what she looked like and didn't know much about her at all.
And officials want to know -- one working theory is whether she had any influence on her husband at all. Lots of unanswered questions, but this is the first time we are seeing what she looks like -- Wolf.
BLITZER: This photo first made available by ABC News. Pamela, thanks very much.
I want to bring in Brian Todd. He's got more on the family, as well as a disturbing new trend: the radicalization of women, potentially, as terrorists. Brian, what are you finding out?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, tonight investigators are trying to determine if the female attacker, Tashfeen Malik, influenced her husband to become radical or if it was the other way around?
We do have new information on the increasing number of ISIS sympathizers inside the United States and on the important roles that women play in their ranks.
TODD (voice-over): During the shootings, she pledged alliance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in a posting on Facebook, according to U.S. officials. And now officials are investigating whether Tashfeen Malik was the one who turned her husband into a radical.
One of the husband's coworkers told CBS News she was to blame.
CHRISTIAN NWADKE, CO-WORKER OF SYED RIZWAN FAROOK: I think he married a terrorist.
TODD: The 27-year-old female attacker was born in Pakistan and moved to Saudi Arabia, according to an attorney for her husband's family. She met Syed Rizwan Farook there, then traveled with him to the United States on a fiance visa. Farook family lawyers say she was a typical housewife but traditional, often wearing a burka.
DAVID CHESLEY, SHOOTER'S FAMILY ATTORNEY: She did maintain certain traditions from what I understand in terms of fasting and prayer five time as day. She chose not to drive voluntarily.
TODD: In online dating profiles thought to be his, Farook expressed his desire for a girl who wears a hijab and said he enjoyed target practice in his backyard. The FBI asked directly if it was Tashfeen Malik who influenced Syed Rizwan Farook
DAVID BOWLICH, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, FBI L.A. OFFICE: I don't know the answer, whether she influenced him or not.
NIMMI GOWRINATHAN, PROFESSOR, CITY COLLEGE OF NEW YORK: I very much believe that it's possible that she influenced him. When we look at female fighters, female recruits to the Islamic State, we tend to read her through the men around her, whether it's a boyfriend, a husband or a cousin, you know, that is the reason for her support for the Islamic State or any other political movement. And with this case, we're being forced to sort of re-examine that.
TODD: The couple wouldn't be the first Bonnie and Clyde inspired by terrorists. Hayat Boumedienne, the widow of Paris supermarket gunman Amedy Coulibaly, was according to his former lawyer, the more radical one in the couple. Boumedienne is now believed to be with ISIS in Syria, as is Sally Jones. She's the widow of top ISIS operative Junaid Hussain, believed to have inspired the only ISIS- instigated attack so far on American soil, the foiled attempt in May to shoot up a Prophet Mohammed cartoon-drawing contest in Garland, Texas. Jones is now believed to be a key recruiter for ISIS.
In a sobering new report on ISIS sympathizers inside the U.S., Lorenzo Vidino at George Washington University says many of those supporters are women who are adept at social media.
LORENZO VIDINO, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: "Jannah Bride." "Jannah" means paradise in Arabic. You do see that women are more prolific than men. They tend to write more. They tend to post a lot of things. They tend to have a lot of accounts.
TODD: Now, those accounts, Vidino says, are often used for propaganda and the recruitment or other women. But tonight it is not clear exactly who might have radicalized Tashfeen Malik. A source close to the Saudi government tells CNN she was not on any Saudi watch list or under suspicion of extremist activity by Saudi authorities, Wolf.
BLITZER: Once again, that picture of Tashfeen Malik first made available by ABC News. Brian, thanks very much.
Let's dig deeper with our CNN justice reporter, Evan Perez; the former CIA operative, our CNN security and intelligence analyst, Bob Baer; our CNN terrorism analyst, Paul Cruickshank; and former FBI assistant director, the CNN law enforcement analyst, Tom Fuentes.
You know, Paul, Senator Risch, a member of the Intelligence Committee, presumably well-briefed, he was just on our show, suggesting, "You know what? This may not be this complicated. This woman, Tashfeen Malik, she actually may have been sent over here to the United States specifically with an ISIS- or terrorist-related mission to undertake what they did."
PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, that is very interesting indeed. I wonder if he's been briefed on that, because it totally contradicts what the FBI director was saying earlier, what the FBI in general have been saying, is that there was no wider network behind...
BLITZER: That they know of at this point.
CRUICKSHANK: That they know of. So that seems a very, very different information stream he has got, he is giving us, compared to what the FBI publicly told the American people at this point.
BLITZER: You know, Bob Baer, we do know that women are a top recruiting target for ISIS. Given what we know about this woman or lack of social media presence or travel history, whatever, coming from a conservative hardline family, could she actually have been groomed by ISIS to find some American, get married to that American, come here to the United States and plot some sort of act of terror?
BOB BAER, CNN INTELLIGENCE AND SECURITY ANALYST: Well, Wolf, right now that's the way it looks to me. I mean, she comes from the Punjab, very radicalized; Saudi Arabia, the whole education system there is radicalized. Even though she may not have taken arms in Saudi Arabia or come to the attention of the Saudis, that whole education system will turn somebody like this.
And you look at his background, and it is -- it is not as extreme. And it's a good -- you know, the Islamic State is very smart. They can get on the Net, troll for somebody looking for a wife or a husband, and prepare them. And somebody learned those tactics.
I still maintain that was a military assault on this facility. I've seen nothing to suggest that he was the one that learned these tactics; and the question is was it she?
Now, just because the FBI hasn't found proof of this -- but then again, let's go back to the smashed telephones. If it was simply a lone-wolf attack completely inspired here, why would you smash your telephones? And the only reason you'd do that is hide the network that you're in touch with.
BLITZER: You're also learning, Evan, that the weapons that were discovered were altered to make them more powerful in this townhouse.
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, the AR-15s, the rifles that were used in this attack, were legal when they were bought in California just a couple years ago, 2011, 2012. They were altered in some way before this attack took place. We don't know by whom. We don't know when this occurred.
The weapons were actually bought by someone else, who the FBI is looking to talk to today. One of the things that was done to it was the AR-15s sold in California are required have a bullet button which makes it difficult for you to remove the magazines. And they found tools in order to -- to change that. And also, they found magazines, extended magazines.
This basically allowed this weapon to be shot almost fully automatic style, you know, and that's one of the things that they clearly were doing to prepare for carrying out this attack.
[18:40:15] BLITZER: Clearly, that requires some skill to do that.
BLITZER: Tom Fuentes, they also found, over there at that townhouse, pipe-bomb-type devices, thousands and thousands of rounds of ammunition. There is obviously some suspicion this couple may have been planning another attack. When you hear that information, what do you think?
TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, I think that could be true, Wolf, but I also think that their original intention might have been a bigger attack at a bigger location, and then they got angry -- or he got angry at this function and decided, "The heck with it. Let's go here first."
So that we just don't know. And we may never know that, unless they find something in the -- in the phone or computers or anything of the digital media that they've obtained.
But we just don't know. Certainly, they didn't need that much equipment, that much armament to go into a -- you know, a holiday party and shoot it up. So to me, they might have had another attention first and then got diverted to do this one out of anger.
BLITZER: All right. I want everybody to stand by, because we're getting more information. We'll take a quick break. More of the breaking news right after this.
[18:45:58] BLITZER: The breaking news this hour: we're getting our first look at the female shooter along with her husband killed 14 people in the what FBI is now investigating as an act of terror. This photo of Tashfeen Malik first obtained by ABC News.
Also breaking tonight, "The Wall Street Journal" reporting that Western officials now believe the terror network behind the Paris attacks has links to people in the United Kingdom, with sources tell CNN may in fact be the next ISIS target.
Let's get some more on what is going on with the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. He's here in Washington in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Mr. Blair, thanks very much for joining us.
TONY BLAIR, FORMER BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Thanks, Wolf.
BLITZER: This report in "The Wall Street Journal" that there may have been links in the U.K. with the Paris terror attackers, what do you know about that?
BLAIR: Well, we don't know whether this is correct or not at the present time, but the fact is, all the countries in Europe feel under threat at the moment and we've got a huge problem that isn't just confined to one individual country. The attacks in Paris could easily happen elsewhere.
And that's why I think you -- you know, I've been saying in an essay I published earlier today, we got to have a strategy that deals with the immediate need to defeat ISIS and defeat them completely and eradicate their centers of operation and then you need to deal with this broader ideology, the Islamist extremism comes out of a set of ideas and a propaganda that has got a much wider reach. And this is what feeds these fanatics and jihadists who will go out and kill completely innocent people.
BLITZER: Our terrorism analyst, Paul Cruickshank, has been reporting, he's hearing that ISIS is now also planning an attack in the U.K. right now. How seriously do they take that threat in the U.K.?
BLAIR: Really seriously. And, by the way, it's not simply attacks by ISIS itself but there are other terrorist groups and terrorist cells and most of the intelligence agencies in Europe, the biggest concern is people that have gone to Syria and come back, they can be our own citizens, thousands have gone from Europe and they come back, battle hardened, trained and capable of killing large numbers of people.
But I do think it's important we set this within the context of even if you eliminate one of these groups, you've still as I say, got this broader ideology where I'm afraid the reach of the ideology in different parts of the world is far greater than amongst a small number of fanatic fanatics. So, you've got to deal with the immediate issue and security and defeating ISIS where they are out in Syria and Iraq, but you're also going to deal with this broader problem.
BLITZER: As you know, the FBI director here in the United States today formally announced that the investigation of the mass killings in San Bernardino, California, now investigation could be it could be an act of terror and we're hearing from Senator Risch, a member of the intelligence committee, this woman, the wife, Tashfeen Malik, she actually may have been sent over here to the United States by ISIS or some other terror organization to plot and to undertake this kind of operation.
This could be a game changer potentially.
BLAIR: Yes, I think the anxiety is absolutely justified because any number of means these people can use and this is why for the security services trying to deal with this, you know, there is a limit to what you're able to do in order to protect people in this situation, which is why you've got to go to the origin and root of it. And if we don't do, we'll find increasing numbers of terrorist attacks in the West and an increasing sense of insecurity.
And this could only be dealt with ultimately by dealing with the source and origin. BLITZER: So, you are not afraid or you're not reluctant to call
this, as you just said, Islamic terrorism, or Islamist terrorism. Is that the phrase you just used?
BLAIR: Islamist extremism is the ideology that gives rise to the violence. If you simply focus on the violence and don't focus on the ideology, then you won't deal with this problem.
BLITZER: Because President Obama is reluctant to use that phrase, as you know.
BLAIR: Well, I understand the reluctance because people don't want to stigmatize the whole Muslim community.
[18:50:02] And let's be clear, true Islam is a peaceful and honorable faith. The vast majority of people in Islam don't want anything to do with this type of terrorism. However, there is a significant minority and I think it goes broader than just a small group of fanatics.
The significant minority subscribes to a world view in many, many of these countries around the world in which they see themselves as in battle with the West, the see Islam as a religion humiliated by us, and this extremism which seeks to pose a view of religious belief upon the world has, I'm afraid, a broader reach than we want to admit.
So, my point is very, very simple. Yes, we've got to do everything we can to destroy ISIS. By the way, we've got to destroy not just what they are doing in Syria, Iraq, Libya, elsewhere. But then we've got to work with those countries, many of whom are our allies to say you've got to root out within your education systems and within your society, the propaganda that gives rise to the --
BLITZER: The House of Commons in London now has agreed that the U.K. can start air strikes but airstrikes alone is not going to destroy -- you say you've got to destroy ISIS. You need ground troops to do that, right?
BLAIR: You do. Now, they don't always have to be ours and we can do a lot in the supporting role and, by the way, the -- what the Americans have started to do in these last weeks has been really important in bolstering the campaign against ISIS and there's been success and parts of Iraq are able to work with the Iraqi government there and it can be done in Syria as well.
But it's going to have to be done over a period of time. It's got to be done to destroy their base and we can't, for example, leave what is happening in Libya alone either. They control a significant part of Libya. Before 9/11, we had training grounds in Afghanistan. We now have them in the northeast and Middle East.
BLITZER: Tony Blair, the former prime minister, thanks very much for joining us.
BLAIR: Thank you.
BLITZER: Appreciate it very much.
We'll have much more on the breaking news right after a quick break.
[18:56:28] BLITZER: We're following the breaking news. We now have pictures of both killers in the San Bernardino mass shooting. The first photo of the female shooter Tashfeen Malik's was published by ABC News. The FBI now says it's investigating the attack as an act of terrorism.
And only moments ago here in THE SITUATION ROOM, Senator James Risch of Senate Intelligence Committee said he believes the attack may have been directed by ISIS. Fourteen people were gunned down during an office holiday party.
CNN's Jake Tapper takes a closer look now at some of the lives that were lost.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They were cherished family members, best friends, parents, 14 people between the ages of 26 and 60 who spent their final day celebrating together, kissing their loved ones goodbye in the morning, never believing they wouldn't come home.
RYAN REYES, BOYFRIEND KILLED IN SHOOTING: The thought running through my mind was just, no, no, no. This isn't true.
TAPPER: Ryan Reyes drove his boyfriend Daniel Kaufman to the regional center Wednesday as he did most mornings. Kaufman ran a coffee shop there where he train disabled employees. Kaufman was taking a break on a bench outside when he was killed.
REYES: He meant the world to me. He meant the absolute world to me. Yes. Sorry.
TAPPER: Many of the victims were parents, leaving behind at least 18 children whose worlds are now changed forever.
JOLENE, MOTHER KILLED IN SHOOTING: Overall, she was like an amazing person. Like, she was so nice. Like, she always supported me in everything I did.
TAPPER: Bennetta Bet-Badal had three children. Her family and friends say she came to America from Iran at age 18 to escape religious extremism.
KEN PAULSON, FAMILY FRIEND: We find it is sadly ironic and horrible that a woman that came to the country under these circumstances would find herself gunned down by religious extremists.
TAPPER: Michael Wetzel leaves behind six children and his wife Renee. A friend speaking for the family told CNN how Renee learned of his murder.
CELIA BEHAR, FAMILY FRIEND: The large group of survivors came out and he wasn't in it. They told her, if he wasn't in there, then he was gone.
TAPPER: Robert Adams had always wanted to be a dad. He and his wife welcomed a little girl just 20 months ago. On the fundraising page set up for his family, a friend posted, quote, "He was 100 percent in daddy land." His family says he cherished every moment with his daughter.
Twenty-seven-year-old Sierra Clayborn and Yvette Velasco were cherished daughters as well. Yvette was an intelligent, motivated and beautiful young woman, her family said in a statement. On Facebook, Sierra sister wrote, quote, "My heart is broken. I'm completely devastated."
The family of the youngest victim is, too. Aurora Godoy was just 26. She leaves behind a husband and a 2-year-old son.
This community and the families of all the victims will need tremendous strength to move forward, a trait many learned from their loved ones.
JOLENE: I'm doing OK because what else can I do? I have to stay strong.
TAPPER: Jake Tapper, CNN, Washington.
BLITZER: Heartbreaking indeed. And our deepest, deepest condolences to the families of these wonderful, wonderful people who were gunned down.
Thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.
CNN's special coverage of the San Bernardino shootings continues right now with "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT."