Return to Transcripts main page
THE SITUATION ROOM
Officials: Gunman Apparently Radicalized; New Details on the San Bernardino Mass Shooting. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired December 3, 2015 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Happening now, breaking news. Married killers. Shocking new details of the rare husband and wife team who committed mass murder before going down in a hail of police bullets. Tonight, we're learning what may have driven them to kill.
[17:00:35] I'll talk to the U.S. congressman representing San Bernardino. He has new information.
Terror connection. Sources tell CNN Syed Rizwan Farook had communicated with people being investigated by the FBI for international terrorism. Did his trips to Saudi Arabia and Pakistan play a role in his rampage, or was he radicalized online?
The arsenal. The assailants firing up to 150 rounds at their victims and police and carrying 1,600 more rounds of ammunition with them. Inside their home, a dozen bombs with tools to make more. Were they planning an even bigger attack?
I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZER: We're following the breaking news. Disturbing new details emerging about the shooting massacre in San Bernardino, California. And the husband and wife team who killed 14 people and wounded 21. They've been identified as 28-year-old Syed Rizwan Farook, a U.S. citizen, and his Pakistani-born wife, 27-year-old Tashfeen Malik.
Law enforcement officials are now telling CNN Farook apparently was radicalized and was in touch with people being investigated by the FBI for international terrorism. In an online profile, Farook described himself as religious but modern and said he enjoyed traveling and doing target practice in his backyard.
Right now, police are searching the couple's home, where at least a dozen pipe bombs were found, as well as hundreds of tools to make more explosive devices. We're covering all of this much more this hour with our guests, including Congressman Pete Aguilar, whose district includes San Bernardino. And our correspondents and our expert analysts, they are standing by for all the late-breaking developments.
Let's begin with our chief national security correspondent, Jim Sciutto.
Jim, you're learning more about these killers. JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, here
are the key new details tonight. Law enforcement officials cite signs, evidence that Syed Farook had been radicalized.
They say Farook had been in contact by phone and social media with known terrorism subjects overseas. And they say he had traveled to Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.
Police say that none of these new details, either individually or collectively, is conclusive. Investigators still careful to say they do not know the motive, but they are tonight building a clearer picture.
SCIUTTO (voice-over): Tonight, signs the deadly California rampage could be tied to terrorism. Investigators searching for a motive found evidence shooting suspect Syed Rizwan Farook had been radicalized, via contact with known terror subjects overseas.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A large armed response here.
SCIUTTO: However, they have not determined definitively whether those extremist beliefs or other workplace grievances, or possibly both, triggered the mass shooting.
DAVID BOWDICH, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, FBI LOS ANGELES OFFICE: It was obviously a mission here. We know that. We do not know why. We don't know if this was a -- this was the intended target or if there was something that triggered him to do this immediately. We just don't know.
SCIUTTO: The shooters, Syed Rizwan Farook, a 28-year-old U.S. citizen, and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, a 27-year-old U.S. permanent resident, were not previously known to the FBI and were not on a list of potentially radicalized people.
However, law enforcement officials say that Farook was in contact by phone and social media with international terrorism subjects under FBI investigation. But the subjects were not considered high priority.
Investigators are also examining Farook's travel to Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, where it is believed that Farook met his wife, Malik, during the annual Muslim pilgrimage, the Hajj. Malik, who was born in Pakistan, eventually came to the U.S. on a K-1 or fiancee visa before obtaining a green card.
Farook's brother-in-law said he is stunned by Wednesday's bloodshed.
FARHAN KHAN, SHOOTER'S BROTHER-IN-LAW: I have no idea. Why would he do that? Why would he do something like this? I have absolutely no idea. I'm in shock myself.
SCIUTTO: Police are now working at the couple's home to determine how they managed to amass an enormous arsenal: two assault rifles and two semi-automatic handguns, more than 6,000 rounds of ammunition and high-capacity magazines. Police also found what they described as a bomb lab in their home, with a dozen improvised pipe bombs, in addition to three others rigged to a remote-control car left unexploded at the scene. Signs that a bigger plot could have been in the works.
[17:05:18] CHIEF JARROD BURGUAN, SAN BERNARDINO POLICE: Nobody just gets upset at a party, goes home and puts together that kind of an elaborate scheme or plan to come back and do that. So there was some planning that went into this.
SCIUTTO: Investigators, intelligence analysts, they look for patterns. And there are facts here that fit patterns of radicalization and perhaps terrorism. Contact with known terror subjects and sympathizers, foreign travel, but there are also patterns here that fit workplace violence, including that reported altercation at that holiday party yesterday, Wolf.
Tonight, a definitive motive, they're still not there yet, investigators, but they're gathering evidence, and certainly this path becomes more credible.
BLITZER: It could have been a little bit of both, radicalization plus workplace anger, violence, whatever sort of combining to cause this mass murder.
SCIUTTO: That's right. And there has been some precedent for that.
BLITZER: Jim Sciutto reporting for us. Thanks very much.
Let's bring in our justice correspondent Pamela Brown. She's in San Bernardino for us tonight. Pamela, what have authorities learned about Farook's actual communications?
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, we know the FBI's involved now in this investigation. And so far, they've uncovered that Syed Farook had been in touch with several FBI terrorism subjects, people that were being investigated for possible ties to international terrorism, though I'm told by my sources that these people weren't considered the top ten. In other words, high priority terrorism subjects. And they have not been arrested so far on terrorism.
But it is still significant in light of what we saw here yesterday that the gunman had been in touch, over the past several years, with these terrorism subjects. I'm told that, at this point in the investigation, they have not been able to uncover any very recent communications that he was maybe coordinating or planning with one of these terrorism subjects. I'm told that communications were at least a few weeks out and even over the span of a few years.
Also investigators are looking at possible communications and associations Syed Farook had overseas, Wolf. It's not clear how that could be relevant, but given the fact he had this foreign travel, which in and of itself isn't that significant. But the fact that he did, they want to know what he did over there,
who he met with. So right now the FBI is fanning out to talk to these people, to interview some of these terrorism subjects to see what those communications were about and to see if perhaps they missed something.
At this stage though, Wolf, it doesn't appear that he was part of any cell, anything like that. But again, I can't stress this enough. It is still too early. And the FBI has still not determined whether this was an act of terrorism or an act of workplace dispute or hybrid, as you just discussed.
BLITZER: And as far as you know, Pamela, neither one of these two, the husband nor the wife, was on any U.S. terror watch list, right?
BROWN: That's right. In fact, that is part of what is so perplexing to investigators. These two were not known to them. So right now they're doing a lot of work to try to put together a sort of history of their lives. Who are these people? Who have they been in contact with?
Because these were not people. These were not one of the hundreds of people that the FBI has been tracking recently, more recently on terrorism. So that is part of the challenge for investigators and why it may take a little bit longer to get that necessary information, Wolf.
BLITZER: Pamela Brown in San Bernardino for us tonight. Pamela, thanks very much.
Let's talk about all of this with Democratic Congressman Pete Aguilar of California. He represents San Bernardino. He's also a member of the Armed Services Committee.
Congressman, first of all, my deepest condolences to you, all your friends and family and colleagues out there, constituents who may be effected by what happened in San Bernardino.
Let's talk about this Syed Farook. He apparently was radicalized. He apparently had been in contact with terrorism subjects as they're called in the U.S. and overseas. Do you believe at this point he was connected to terror?
REP. PETE AGUILAR (D), CALIFORNIA: You know, what I've said consistently is that this is an act of terror on my community. That's what I can speak to. Talking with folks within this community, I grew up here. These are our friends and neighbors. And to see them struggling to go through this, and to see the lockdown and the chase and the ensuing time and tragedy is difficult.
But this is -- this is an act of terror on my community. I'll let lawyers and other folks talk about the definitions of that, but I can just tell you what I'm hearing here in the community.
BLITZER: But do you believe it was like radical Islamic jihadi type terror? AGUILAR: Well, we have to let the information go. That's what the
investigation is for. And law enforcement officials are asking those difficult questions now. And I trust that they will work toward that motive, and they'll work toward this investigation in order to bring some conclusion to it.
But that's what the investigation is for. What I'm concerned about now is the community moving forward.
There's a vigil this evening that I'll be participating in. And that's -- this is the appropriate time for the community to come together. We look forward to starting that difficult process this evening.
BLITZER: Have you already been briefed, Congressman, on the communications that he had, Farook had with terrorism elements, whether in the U.S. or overseas?
AGUILAR: I've been briefed by the FBI, and I'll continue to ask for briefings moving forward. But again, those are questions for law enforcement officials. And right now our concern is focusing on those law enforcement officials who put their lives on the line, and the victims in this tragedy.
BLITZER: Can you share with us what the FBI has told you?
AGUILAR: We've had a couple discussions. I can't share that. They're the appropriate ones who are having those discussions. But, you know, I'm asking questions on behalf of my community. And I look forward to their continued discussions with me about this process.
BLITZER: Do you know when this couple moved into your district?
AGUILAR: I don't. I know that there were multiple addresses that were listed for the individuals. One of which was the Redlands address that you've reported on that had the IED devices. And at the public briefing this morning they indicated, the police indicated that that was their residence.
BLITZER: Have you personally heard anything from their families or their close friends?
AGUILAR: I have not heard anything from the families of those individuals or any friends. I've been here on site since last evening. And just having conversations with community members about what we need to do in order to move this community forward. I'm a fourth-generation resident of this area, of this community. And I'm concerned about moving forward and what we need to do in order to start that healing process as a community.
BLITZER: Understandable. Congressman, we're getting some new information. I want you to stand by if you can. We're going to take a quick break. Much more when we come back.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [17:16:50] BLITZER: We're following the breaking news, the ongoing search at the home of the husband and wife killers who massacred 14 people at that shooting rampage in San Bernardino, California.
We've just obtained the driver's license photo of 28-year-old Syed Rizwan Farook. There it is. He was a U.S. citizen. This picture, by the way, is from 2013.
We're back with Democratic Congressman Pete Aguilar of California. He represents San Bernardino. He's a member of the House Armed Services Committee.
Congressman, by any chance did you know any of the 14 people that were murdered?
AGUILAR: I haven't seen the full list, Wolf. I don't -- I don't have that information, but I'll work with the sheriff's office and the coroner's office in order to look. But I know many of -- my brother's a county employee. I know many members and friends who have been San Bernardino county employees. And they're all shaken. The community's shaken.
But we're going to move forward. We're going to have this vigil this evening. We're going to start that healing process tonight.
BLITZER: Congressman, as you know, the police, they're still investigating that home bomb laboratory inside the home of these two killers. As far as you know is that site secured yet?
AGUILAR: That site has been secured since yesterday, as far as I know. The Redlands location. That's what I know. That's what law enforcement officials have indicated. They have gone to that site, and they have secured it. They found those IEDs, as you mentioned, and they continue to work that site as part of the active investigation.
BLITZER: They found about a dozen IEDs, improvised explosive devices, plus thousands of rounds of ammunition which certainly would suggest, Congressman, they had more attacks planned -- if not planned but at least potentially out there. Do you believe that?
AGUILAR: Well, I do believe that the high number of ammunition that they had was not a good sign. And I think the true heroes on that side of the discussion are the law enforcement community and the first responders. Multiple agencies came together, not just FBI and ATF, but San Bernardino County sheriff, San Bernardino Police Department, Redlands Police Department, probation, city of Colton. All came together and secured the sites and worked together to ensure that there wasn't any more casualties that evening.
BLITZER: Do you believe that Syed Rizwan Farook was targeting specific people at that Christmas holiday luncheon that was going on over there at the Inland Regional Center?
AGUILAR: I've heard that question asked of law enforcement officials, and I think that they're the better ones to discuss that. That would lead to the motive and further down in the investigation. I hope they can answer that question for the sake of our community. I think that we deserve that answer.
BLITZER: As far as you know, did the husband, was he the one who pulled the trigger, or was his wife shooting, as well?
AGUILAR: I haven't been in any briefing where they have indicated that level of information.
BLITZER: That's -- that's where we stand right now. Lots of questions, Congressman, as you know. Our heart goes out to you, to your entire community over there. Thanks so much for joining us.
AGUILAR: Thank you, Wolf.
BLITZER: Pete Aguilar, the congressman representing that district.
[17:20:11] Coming up, what negotiators and investigators -- excuse me, what investigators are learning about one of the killer's possible connections with international terrorists.
Plus, we have new details about the woman who, along with her husband, took part in this mass shooting.
BLITZER: We're following the breaking news. As investigators go through the home of the husband and wife killers behind me, San Bernardino mass shooting.
Sources tell CNN the man apparently became radicalized, made contact with international terrorism suspects. CNN's Poppy Harlow is in San Bernardino for us tonight.
Poppy, what are investigators learning about both killers' potential motives?
POPPY HARLOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, they have not identified a motive yet, Wolf, but we have learned some significant things, including that Syed Farook, the 28-year-old, was radicalized at some point. To what extent, or what role that may have played in the attack, we still don't know.
But what is truly remarkable is the fact that he and his wife were not known by authorities whatsoever, despite buying all of this ammunition, making pipe bombs. Syed Farook had no criminal record at all. No red flags were raised by authorities. And then this happened.
HARLOW (voice-over): Tonight, officials are closing in on a motive that left 14 dead and 21 wounded. Syed Farook, a county health department inspector, was believed to be in contact with more than one terrorism subject who the FBI was already investigating, reaching out as recently as several months ago on social media and over the phone. Law enforcement believed he had been radicalized.
BOWDICH: If you look at the amount of obvious pre-planning that went in, the amount of armaments that he had, the weapons and the ammunition, there was obviously a mission here.
HARLOW: The shooting rampage began after Farook left the San Bernardino Health Department holiday party, only to return shortly after with his wife, Tashfeen Malik, both dressed in black, carrying semiautomatic rifles.
BURGUAN: We believe the suspects, when they entered, fired somewhere between 65 and 75 rounds from their rifles at the scene.
HARLOW: That's when Terry Pettit got a text message from his daughter, who was inside.
TERRY PETTIT, DAUGHTER INSIDE DURING SHOOTING: "Shooting at my work. People shot. In the office waiting for cops."
HARLOW: Police rushed to the scene and helped evacuate the survivors.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on. I'll take the bullet before you, that's for damn sure.
HARLOW: The shooters had already fled in a black SUV rental. Hours later, police went into Farook's home in the neighboring city of Redlands with a search warrant. As police approached, they saw that black SUV on the move, slowly at first. Then, it sped away.
A police chase ensued as the SUV raced back towards San Bernardino. With his wife behind the wheel, Farook unloaded 76 rounds at officers. Twenty-three officers returned 380 rounds back at the vehicle. When the SUV came to a halt, it was riddled with bullet holes. Both were killed, two officers injured.
BURGUAN: Both on their body and in the vehicle, they had 1,800 .223- caliber rounds that were available to them, and they had over 200 .9- millimeter rounds on their persons, as well.
HARLOW: Police later discovered a breath-taking arsenal in the suspects' home.
BURGUAN: There were 12 pipe bomb-type devices found. There were another 2,000 .9-millimeter rounds found at that house.
HARLOW: Back at the shooting scene, police found evidence of sophisticated plans.
BURGUAN: There were three pipe bombs that were attached together, somehow attached to this remote-control car, and it was designed that the remote-control device would somehow trigger or set that device off. We don't know if they attempted to do that and it failed or what the story is.
HARLOW: Investigators believe Farook met his wife, Tashfeen Malik, on a trip to Saudi Arabia in 2013. Born in Pakistan, she eventually came to the United States on a fiance visa.
Despite his apparent radicalization, authorities haven't ruled out whether workplace grievances played a part in the rampage.
HARLOW: And what we've also learned at this hour, Wolf, from law- enforcement officials is that that trip Syed Farook took to Saudi Arabia was in 2014. It was a nine-day trip. What transpired there, if there was any connection to this, that is simply unknown at this point in time, Wolf.
BLITZER: It's part of this huge investigation. Poppy, thanks very much.
Let's bring in our experts: CNN security and intelligence analyst Bob Baer. He's a former CIA operative. CNN national security analyst Peter Bergen. Our law enforcement analyst, the former FBI assistant director, Tom Fuentes. And our justice reporter, Even Perez.
It was intriguing, Peter, and you've done a lot of work on this, these improvised bombs, these explosive devices that they found in the car at the site, maybe a dozen in the home. Here's the question: Could they have been built based on those recipes, those instructions in "Inspire" magazine, the al Qaeda magazine out there, one of those articles entitled "How to Build a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom"?
PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, "Inspire" magazine has shown up in a lot of cases. You'll recall the Boston Marathon bombers used "Inspire" magazine to help build that bomb. So it wasn't the only source they used. We don't know if this couple downloaded "Inspire" magazine just yet, but pretty much in every jihadi terrorist case we've seen, we've seen both that magazine and also Anbar Awlaki, the head of al Qaeda in Yemen,
[17:30:01] his propaganda as an American citizen of course.
BLITZER: How much damage, Tom, could these explosive devices if used and built properly and exploded? How much damage could they have done?
TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Could do a lot of damage on the control -- in a small room where the bomb would be contained. You could kill a couple dozen people in a room that size. In a large auditorium where the explosion might dissipate into the air more, maybe fewer, but we don't know how much powder and whether there was shrapnel embedded in those bombs either. We don't know the size of the weapon.
BLITZER: Evan, you've been doing a lot of reporting. Your law enforcement sources are telling you that Farook was in touch, was radicalized with international terrorism suspects or subjects. What are you learning?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, they don't know much yet about those contacts, Wolf. They're still trying to figure out exactly what those mean. They may turn out to be really meaningless in this investigation. But certainly did not mean any conclusions that that is what directs this towards terrorism or towards workplace violence situation. And certainly I think important to note that in talking to people last night, for instance, once they came across and once they were looking at this device, the device with three improvised explosives tied together, it contained black powder and it was rigged with remote control car, this is something that really kind of gave them pause and started turning this direction -- this investigation into a sort of new phase because it really gave them the concern that there was something more to this.
And certainly when they found this rudimentary bomb lab in the house, again, with components to make further device -- more devices, again, pointed them in a direction that they thought, OK, this is not just workplace violence. So right now the going theory is that perhaps this might be a hybrid where someone has a beef at work but also has some motivations that may be explained --
BLITZER: But the enormous fear the FBI has is that these two individuals were not necessarily acting alone. Someone was training them how to build these bombs, how to use these weapons and may be at large right now.
PEREZ: Right. And the devices are rudimentary. They're not very sophisticated. However, they had to have learned how to make them. And so that's the question is where that knowledge came from.
BLITZER: Bob, Evan, as you heard his reporting that they were in touch, at least Farook, was in touch with some terrorism suspects out there. The FBI had already been investigating those suspects, not necessarily Farook himself. Walk us through how they would try to find out who these individuals are and what if any role they may have had in this massacre in San Bernardino.
ROBERT BAER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, they're going to be combing through the metadata, Wolf. And it's going to tell a big story. After an event like this happens, that metadata means a lot. They're going to look at the timing, they're going to look at the visits to Saudi Arabia, they're going to look at the families in Pakistan. And once you start assembling this stuff you're going to get a pretty good picture.
And I think at this point, you know, the preponderance of evidence makes this look like terrorism rather than workplace -- you don't make pipe bombs and that many and accrue that much ammunition unless you plan to go to war against this country. And I think that that metadata, we'll have to wait to see what it says, but it's going to be telling.
BLITZER: What's unusual in this case, Peter, and you've studied terrorism for a long time, yes, there are male terrorists, there are female terrorists, but a husband and wife team going into a center like this and killing all these people together, that's pretty unusual.
BERGEN: It is. And of course it has a great advantage. You know, Bob was referring to phone metadata. Well, a couple don't have to make phone calls to conspire together or they don't have to e-mail each other, so it's a very secure group. But we have seen male and female teams of suicide bombers go from Europe into Iraq. It's not unprecedented. It is quite unusual certainly in this country.
BLITZER: Very unusual indeed. All right, guys, I want you to stand by. We're getting more information. We'll take a quick break. We'll continue to follow the late breaking developments right after this.
[17:38:20] BLITZER: We're following the breaking news in the investigation of the mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, that left 14 people dead, 21 people injured. The killers are husband and wife. They died in a shootout with police. Investigators report finding stockpiles of ammunition and bombs at the couple's home.
We're back with our experts. Bob Baer, does it seem unusual that they would leave a 6-month-old behind in all of this? They left that 6- month-old baby with the grandmother. What does that tell you about the wife's role in all of this?
BAER: Wolf, what this tells me, unless, you know, I'm proven otherwise, is these two were intending to die. They were looking to become martyrs. I mean, you simply don't take a mother with a 6- month-old baby and go out and shoot it out with the police in the United States. You know that you're going to die. So I think they were preparing for their end. You know, I can assume they were going to make this one hit and move on to the next one, or even try to detonate that IED that they'd left in the conference center.
I don't know at that point, but clearly these people were prepared to sacrifice their lives and for whatever cause they believed in. Again, I think it was more than workplace violence.
BLITZER: Tom Fuentes, Farook's father says his son was religious, but he is stunned by what has happened. Does it surprise you that apparently no one knew what was going on inside that house? That there were -- it was a bomb factory, if you will. They were building a dozen bombs there. Neighbors may not have known anything. Family members, relatives didn't know anything. No one reported anything to law enforcement.
FUENTES: Just because he says it doesn't make it true. You know, he could be lying. He could be in denial. He could be, you know, any number of things about not knowing whether his son was religious or not religious or over-the-top extremist. So I don't put a lot of faith in what family members say immediately after an event like this.
[17:40:15] BLITZER: Or friends or close friends or neighbors.
FUENTES: Yes. All of that.
BLITZER: Normally in a situation like this neighbors come, oh, he's a nice guy, never any trouble. Very quiet. Very nice.
BLITZER: You hear that kind of stuff, you know, usually all the time, right, Evan?
PEREZ: Yes, exactly. And one of the things that a trend that the FBI's been looking at developing, Wolf, has been the idea that a lot of people who radicalize tend to, you know, there's now a much more shorter period between the time of radicalization and the time that they might try to do something. Used to be a longer period of radicalization. We saw in a couple of the Paris attackers that that was the case. The concern is that it makes it so much harder to detect when somebody is about to do something. Especially somebody with a clean background like these two people.
BLITZER: Peter, does it have the fingerprints -- if in fact it is radical Islamic jihad, if you will, does it have the fingerprints of ISIS, al Qaeda, AQAP, some other terrorist group? What is the -- what would be the indication in your mind?
BERGEN: Since 9/11 we have seen no attacks in this country by people associated with a formal terrorist organization. So I doubt very much, maybe that it was directed by ISIS or any other group. If it might be, it might be inspired. That's perfectly plausible. These people probably like school shooters, look at other school shootings to learn how to do things. These guys appeared to have studied the "Charlie Hebdo" attacks based on the gear and the kind of approach they took. So they certainly study other attacks. But does that mean they're part of a formal terrorist organization? No, not in this country.
BLITZER: Does it -- what about that, Bob Baer? Does it seem like domestically, you know, as they say a lone individual, a lone wolf, who's just been radicalized online, if you will, social media?
BAER: Well, Wolf, what bothers me about is their familiarity with weapons. I mean, it's very, very -- you have to cross the threshold to shoot people first of all and to get away before the police respond and then start to move on to another objective, whichever that was. And for them to be shooting out the car at the police that's -- you know, it suggests some sort of training or radicalization.
But I agree with Peter, there's no evidence so far this was directed by ISIS or al Qaeda. There's no claims for it. And I also don't like that they were using pipe bombs. That is sort of the worst explosive you can -- they rarely go off. They're unreliable. And clearly the command detonated bomb was wasted in their minds. And so I think these were almost wannabes, self-recruited, maybe inspired as Peter said by somebody in the Middle East. But so far there's no evidence this was directed from an organized group.
BLITZER: Go ahead, Evan.
PEREZ: Well, Wolf, you know, I think one of the great innovations really in the terrorism game in the last couple -- in the last few years has been this idea that you can do this self-directed, do it yourself, DIY type terrorism attack. And that's the kind of thing that we're seeing. And it's becoming especially because they seem to inspire each other, as Peter was just referring to.
PEREZ: And I think it's an innovation that makes it harder and harder for --
BLITZER: And ISIS -- ISIS has said on social media many times, if you can't come to Iraq and Syria to kill the infidel, kill them at home. Do whatever you can, use a bomb, gun, drive a car, do whatever -- use a knife, whatever you can. They've said that repeatedly.
Guys, stand by. We're getting some new information about the dramatic police shooting that left both the assailants dead. More breaking news right after this.
[17:48:33] BLITZER: The breaking news this hour. Disturbing new details about the husband and wife who killed 14 people in that mass shooting in San Bernardino, California. Sources now telling CNN that Syed Rizwan Farook had communicated with known overseas terror suspects and had apparently been radicalized.
CNN's Brian Todd is joining us. He has more on the shootout with police that killed both Farook and his wife.
Brian, this all played out almost exactly 24 hours ago.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, it was a very dramatic sequence. Much of it witnessed on live TV. We've got new information tonight from law enforcement officials on how the car chase and the standoff unfolded. The exchanges of gunfire along the route and at the final scene right here. The key question tonight, were the killers on their way to another attack?
TODD (voice-over): Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik had driven quickly from the shooting scene in a black SUV. About 10 miles away police are already at their home in Redlands when the killers drive by in their Ford Expedition. The SUV slows there then speeds away. A police car gives chase. The assailants toss what appear to be pipe bombs from the vehicle during the chase, but they don't explode. Authorities say while Malik is driving her husband opens fire at police from the getaway car. It's not clear if the officers fire back during the pursuit. One former SWAT team supervisor says they often try to avoid that.
CHUCK CANTERBURY, FORMER SWAT TEAM SUPERVISOR: There may have been rounds fired at the vehicle, possibly in an effort to stop it. But also to stop the suspect from spraying bullets at the police and the public.
[17:50:06] TODD: Dramatic amateur video from a local resident captures the danger of the chase as it approaches the intersection of East San Boulevard and Shedden Drive. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, (EXPLETIVE DELETED). Holy (EXPLETIVE
DELETED). Shots rang out.
TODD: Near that intersection the suspect's SUV stops. Then a frantic exchange of gunfire.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my gosh.
CHIEF JARROD BURGUAN, SAN BERNARDINO POLICE: The suspects are believed to have fired about rifle rounds at the officers at the termination of the pursuit.
TODD: Police fire nearly 400 rounds back. Officials say Farook and his wife are killed right there. At one point there appears to be a body a couple of lanes from the vehicle. Police are captured on the dispatcher's radio calling it in. They believe they've got two male suspects.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: San Bernardino and Shedden, one guy down and one guy in the back of the car and we have the Bearcat.
TODD: We later learned two officers are injured in the standoff.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need medical aid.
TODD: Typical of the confusion in these situations, police also believe they have a third suspect on the run and fan out in the neighborhood.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Last seen in the alleyway headed toward Gould.
CANTERBURY: You have information coming in from anybody that's in the neighborhood, you got phone calls coming in, things are being reported.
TODD: There turns out to be no third suspect, armored bearcat vehicles sandwich the black SUV. Officers move in cautiously to make sure it's not booby trapped.
TODD: Now two law enforcement experts we spoke to, both of them former police commanders, said they believe the responding officers did a very good job during the chase and the standoff making sure that no civilians were hit in any crossfire and they believe the police intervention here saved lives. Both of them believe the assailants were on their way to attack somewhere else. Now the San Bernardino Police chief Jarrod Burguan says he doesn't know if that's the case but he says they were equipped with enough firepower to continue their attack -- Wolf.
BLITZER: They certainly were. During that foot chase in the neighborhood where the standoff ended, Brian, while they didn't find a third suspect, police still ended up making an arrest. Explain what happened. TODD: They did, Wolf. They detained one man who was seen running
away in the southern direction from that neighborhood after the shootout. Authorities determined he had nothing to do with the mass shooting but the police chief say he did have a misdemeanor warrant after his arrest. He was at the wrong place at the wrong time.
BLITZER: All right, Brian, thanks very much.
Let's get some more on what's going on with our law enforcement analyst, the former FBI assistant director, Tom Fuentes, and the former assistant director of the U.S. Marshals' Office, Art Roderick, who's out there in San Bernardino for us right now.
Art, did the police do everything they should have done yesterday?
ART RODERICK FORMER ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, U.S. MARSHALS: Absolutely. I mean, the usual response time in these types of incidents is seven to 12 minutes. And they were there in four minutes. Now having said that, the two suspects obviously were there for a shorter period of time because they got away but they only got away for a few miles and that's the big question that we've been mulling over here the past couple of days is what were they going to do, and I think everybody seems to agree that they were going to hit another target or possibly come back and hit that same area again where the first responders setting up the command post in the triage area.
BLITZER: Tom, as you know, this happened in a pretty large city, a city of about 200,000 people. There were FBI, ATF, they had some pretty sophisticated military-type vehicles. What if this were to happen now in a smaller town? Would the local law enforcement be prepared?
FUENTES: Good possibility they would not, Wolf. In an area like that they might have been severely out-gunned. I know there's been big controversy that the military-type vehicles should only be in the big departments like NYPD or Los Angeles or Chicago. But you can see that something like this can happen just about anywhere, anytime, and generally the police are usually outgunned in most of these situations.
BLITZER: Art, what's the most important lesson law enforcement needs to take away from this mass murder in San Bernardino?
RODERICK: I think there's actually two things, is obviously, the quicker you can get to these situations, the quicker you could take control and get information, but also I think law enforcement also has to be prepared for simultaneous strikes, and also for those same individuals to come back to the area that they just hit to hit first responders that are coming into the danger zone.
BLITZER: Art, I want you to stand by, please, Tom Fuentes stand by as well. There's more breaking news coming into THE SITUATION ROOM including new clues about the killers' possible ties to terror. Was the gunman radicalized online?
[17:54:47] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BLITZER: Happening now, breaking news, radicalized killer? We're learning more about the husband and wife shooters behind the massacre in California and the investigation into his possible ties to terror. What was he doing on a trip to Saudi Arabia?
Weapons of war. Investigator searching the couple's home are finding a bomb lab and a military-style arsenal. How long have the killers been planning to strike and did they act alone?
Inside the standoff. We're getting dramatic new details about the slaughter, the escape and the shootout with police. Did authorities miss clues that this kind of an attack was in the works?