Sat, 24 Jul 2021

WASHINGTON - Travel documents of Tashfeen Malik, one of the two shooters in the San Bernardino massacre early this month, raised no red flags that would have alerted American authorities before giving the Pakistan-born Islamic State sympathizer a K-1 "fiancee" visa, officials said Wednesday.

The officials said that it has been found that the State Department had carried out standard security inquiries as the investigation progresses into how authorities in the United States missed Malik's jihadi mindset and radical behavior before she was allowed to enter America.

The Statement Department, a source told Reuters, conducted inquiries including interagency counter-terrorism screening, fingerprint checks, facial recognition analysis and checks against worldwide US consular records.

The officials said that since the department found no "derogatory information" in Malik's application, they had no grounds for ordering deeper investigations into her background or denying her entry when she arrived in the United States in December 2013.

Malik was engaged to Syed Farook, a US-born citizen, when she applied for the visa and arrived in the US.

The State Department on Tuesday provided Malik's complete visa file to congressional investigators looking into how Malik obtained her visa.

Reuters reported that the file outline precisely what security checks were conducted on Malik before her visa was approved, including which US government data bases were checked.

Farook, 28, and Malik, 29, killed 14 people in the December 2 attack at a community center in San Bernardino. They were armed with two handguns and two semiautomatic rifles.

Meanwhile in a related development, a former neighbor, who prosecutors say supplied assault rifles to the couple, was indicted on Wednesday on charges of conspiring to provide material support to terrorists.

The neighbor, Enrique Marquez, 24, was charged with conspiring with Farook in 2011 and 2012 to support a terrorist attack that was never carried out.

Marquez is also charged with entering into a sham marriage with a Russian Mariya Chernykh, whose sister is married to Farook's elder brother, so that he could live in the United States.

The indictment supersedes a criminal complaint containing similar charges that was filed against Marquez earlier this month and allows prosecutors to proceed to trial without holding a lengthy evidentiary hearing first.

Marquez is being held without bail on those charges.

"Defendant Marquez's extensive plotting with Syed Rizwan Farook in 2011 and 2012, and his purchase of explosive powder and two firearms, provided the foundation for the murders that occurred this month," US Attorney Eileen Decker said in a written statement.

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