The FBI investigation into a husband and wife who killed 14 people at a holiday party in San Bernardino, California, is examining $28,000 in financial activity they engaged in before their attack, a U.S. government source said on Tuesday.
Authorities have said Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and wife Tashfeen Malik, 29, were radicalized Muslims who committed an act of terror. While investigations into such attacks often focus on how they were financed, the Reuters source and two other informed government officials said there are no indications the money trail in this case links the couple with any foreign group.
One of the Reuters sources said Farook and Malik apparently pursued a scenario previously followed by U.S.-based militants by draining their bank accounts and maxing out credit lines before embarking on what they believe to be a suicide mission, knowing that they would not have to pay off the debts.
Fox News first reported on Monday that Farook engaged in transactions involving more than $28,000 and that the money originated with WebBank.com around Nov. 18. It said investigators were trying to determine if the money was a loan taken out by Farook.
A source confirmed to Reuters that the $28,000 figure cited by Fox was roughly what the Federal Bureau of Investigation was looking into.
Farook, the U.S.-born son of Pakistani immigrants, and Malik, who was born in Pakistan and spent most of her life in Saudi Arabia, died in a shootout with police several hours after their attack on Wednesday morning at the Inland Regional Center social services agency in San Bernardino, about 60 miles (100 km) east of Los Angeles.
The assault is being investigated as an “act of terrorism,” the FBI has said. Malik was believed to have pledged allegiance on Facebook book around the time of the shooting to the leader of the militant group Islamic State.
If the mass shooting proves to have been the work of people inspired by Islamic militants, it would mark the most lethal such attack in the United States since those by al Qaeda on Sept. 11, 2001.
(Writing by Bill Trott; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)