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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  December 4, 2015 5:30pm-6:01pm PST

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the wettest weather. .1 inch in the south bay. >> thanks for joining us. we'll see you at 6:00. breaking news tonight. the pledge of allegiance to isis. the shocking message from the female attacker in san bernardino posted on facebook right as the massacre began. the fbi now saying they're investigating an act of terrorism that claimed so many lives. also, the bomb factory found in the suspects' garage. a bag packed wh apparent pipe bombs, crushed cell phones in attempts to erase the electronic trail as we see inside the apartment where they plotted to kill. what the suspects' sister is telling nbc news about the signs something was wrong. tonight richard engel on the kind of attackers on american soil that authorities fear the most and why they are so hard to stop. "nightly news" begins right now.
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good evening to our viewers in the west. as we come on air, we are seeing for the the first time the face of tashfeen malik, the female attacker in san bernardino. she and her husband syed farook lived among us, walking this very sidewalk, lived in this complex and they did the very thing many of us have voiced so often was inevitable, they attacked our country from the inside. the head of the fbi saying today the massacre here on wednesday was an act of terror. the tipping point, a facebook posting from tashfeen malik in which she pledged allegiance to the leader of isis. tonight we take you inside of the apartment where the husband and wife planned their deadly attack. we also sat down with the suspect's sister giving an insight into what the life of her sister and
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brother-in-law were like and what the people we turn to protect us say about what happens now in this country. we start with justice correspondent pete williams. >> reporter: just as wednesday's attack on farook's fellow county employees began, investigators say his wife tashfeen malik sent an endorsement of isis to her facebook timeline. officials say she pledged support for al baghdadi. facebook said the company took her profile down. the fbi director today declined to comment on that. but explained why this is now a terrorism investigation. >> the investigation so far has developed indications of radicalization by the killers. and of potential inspiration by foreign terrorist organizations. >> reporter: but he declined to specify which terror organizations and said there is no sign the couple was in direct contact with any terrorists here or overseas.
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>> we have no indication that these killers are part of an organized larger group or formed part of a cell. there is no indication that they are part of a network. >> reporter: comey stressed that the investigation is only about 50 hours old and said there is no way to tell yet what the couple 's intent was, why they attacked the county facility or whether they planned 's intent why they attacked the county facility or whether they planned other attacks. an internet media site friendly to isis today posted a message saying the attack was carried out by two supporters of the islamic state. a road block in the investigation is analyzing computers and cell phones left behind at the couple's apartment in redlands. the fbi publicly acknowledged the devices were damaged. >> i was told they were in a nearby trash can and found by our investigators. >> reporter: investigators here and overseas are delving into malik's past. born in pakistan and raised in saudi arabia and met the man who would become her husband online. she arrived in the united states on a flight to chicago a year ago. a big question for investigators, did she radicalize her husband?
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and did she come here intending to do that? the fbi has concluded the search of the apartment where the couple lived. officials say they found three more remote control pipe bombs like the one left behind at the scene of the shooting. the fbi director and the attorney general once again urged people to report suspicious behavior. asked if they're aware of something somebody missed that could have prevented this attack, comey said based on past experience that is reasonably likely. lester. >> and pete, from the moment we learned their names, the husband and wife killers who attacked here have been an enigma. much of the past shrouded in mystery. stephanie gosk has been digging into some of those details. >> reporter: two days after tashfeen malik died in the streets of san bernardino, much of her life story
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remains unknown. >> she was a very, very private person. she kept herself pretty well isolated. she was very conservative. >> the marriage license said she was born in pakistan. at some point the family moved to saudi arabia where saudi government sources tell nbc she never raised any red flags. malik returned to pakistan to go to college. studying pharmacy at this prestigious university, according to reuters. from there it is believed she met farook online. friends say they got married in saudi arabia and obtained a official marriage license in august of 2014 in san bernardino. lester spoke with syed fariq's brother-in-law. >> did she make him happy when they were married. did he change. >> he was happy, yes, they were a happy couple, absolutely. >> reporter: to get to the u.s., the state department granted a k-1 visa or fiancee visa. the process is extensive. an application with personal and security information, police certificates from each country she lived in, a medical exam and photos and a passport.
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>> there are scores of easier ways to come in and overstay visas. this is not one of them. >> kristen welker at the state department today. >> can americans have confidence in the visa processing system. >> yes, i believe they can. this is something our state department and interagency partners continue to look at how we could improve it. we improved it after 9/11 and we continue to improve it. >> reporter: nothing about her visa application raised alarm bells. the fbi says malik and her husband were never on their radar. lawyers for the family said malik spoke broken english. she didn't work and she was a stay-at-home mom and kept to herself. lester. >> stephanie gosk, thanks. and trying to shed light on so many questions, we are hearing from syed farook's sister, telling us about her brother and his wife. here is what she said to chris jansing moments ago. >> what have the last few days been like? >> a bad dream. a horrific nightmare. i want to go back to my normal life. >> how did you find out that your brother was a part of this and
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your sister-in-law was a part of this? >> i found out on the news. >> what goes through your mind? >> um, shock. disbelief. they have the wrong person. >> and now today the fbi said this is a terrorism investigation which means your brother and his wife are considered terrorists. can you wrap your head around that? >> no. not at all. i mean, i have absolutely no idea they were involved in anything like that or they were even capable of doing something like that. >> who were the people you knew? >> i mean, my brother, the brother that i grew up with, the shy introvert, kept to himself, quiet. you know, kids that we knew that grew up and got married and his wife was recently here. she was here for two years. we didn't know her that well. >> did you see anything about him or her that would suggest to you they could be radicalized? >> no. never. >> what was their relationship like with the baby? >> it was great.
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they were great parents. i mean, my brother used to play with her for hours. she used to laugh as soon as he entered the room and that is the part that bugs us the most. who is going to make her laugh now, you know. she would smile every time she would see her mother and she was nursing her. so, i mean, that is a big thing for a mom to leave a nursing child. >> did you know that he had guns? >> i know that he had a gun. >> have you even begun to figure out what your emotions are? >> i wish i could cry about it. but i have to keep it together for my kids. for their daughter and for my mother. >> chris jansing with syed farook's sister. richard engel tells us this is exactly the kind of attack isis has been calling for. telling muslims in the
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u.s. and elsewhere to arm themselves, find targets and attack. richard joins us now. what are you learning about any isis connection here beyond just an inspiration? >> good evening, lester. a u.s. counter-terrorism official tell me that syed farook was in online communication with isis sympathizers and received messages of encouragement for attack. he said there was not any indication of, quote, command and control, that this was directed by or even ordered by isis. but the investigation is still underway. this appears to have been home-grown and a fairly amateurish plot but it shows what a determined pair of terrorists can do, especially when they have access to high-powered rifles. lester. >> richard, thanks. and no one who walked these streets would have any idea one of the residents housed a bomb-making factory. nbc's miguel almaguer was at the home and has a new look at the evidence. >> reporter: earlier
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today, a bizarre scene at the suspect's rental home. the landlord doyle miller removing plywood, allowing journalists and neighbors inside. showing off where the two lived with their six-month old daughter and the couple's mother. the apartment no longer a crime scene. >> once the residents have the apartment and we're not in it any more, we don't control it. >> it was broadcast live, including on msnbc. >> as you could see, the hard drive is gone. >> reporter: this is where investigators earlier found pipe bombs, ammunition and tools to make ieds. carol lives next door. >> i'm thinking all of that ammo and the pipe bombs, they could have been making a pipe bomb and blow us all up and we didn't even know it. >> police photos show the high-powered rifles and the handguns used to kill. this cruiser hit with gunfire and a tactical belt used to hold ammunition. >> we have several down. >> reporter: tonight detectives are
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processing the crime scene of the massacre. >> when we entered, there was fresh gunpowder and the smell of gunpowder in the air. >> lieutenant mike madden was among the first to arrive. >> it was unspeakable. the carnage that we were seeing, the number of people who were injured and unfortunately already dead. and the pure panic on the face of those individuals that were still in need to be safe. >> reporter: the 26-year veteran will never forget what he witnessed here. >> you can't let your emotions override your judgment. and you need to do the job that we're supposed to do. >> reporter: after arriving at the crime scene, the lieutenant said he waited for three other officers. then as a team they penetrated the building, looking for a possible shooter. lester, they say they trained for situations like this for years but nothing prepared them for what they saw. >> miguel, thanks very much. and we're continuing as we get information on the attacks, those that were killed in the attack, the names have been released. we're also learning so
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much more about them and all that they leave behind. >> 14 people were killed at the inland regional center, leaving at least 22 children, young and grown, to spend the holidays without a parent. like robert adams, who was planning his 20-month-old daughter's first trip to disneyland next week. and michael wetzel, father of six. damien meins had two kids of his own and played santa for other children. harry bowman and juan espinosa, both fathers of two. betbedal, mother of three, fled iran at 18 to escape extremism. >> she came here to have a better life and better education and everything else. and unfortunately it was taken away from her at an early age. >> two women in their 20s, just starting their careers. yvette velasco, an environmental specialist, sierra claiborne, a health inspector. tin nguyen, engaged to be married. her family said she brought happiness to everyone. shannon johnson, described as a
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fun-loving soul and a protector. nicholas thalasinos nicholas thalasinos, a devout messianic jew. and another person trained at the building's coffee shop. >> i believe that the world is going to be a much darker place with one person like daniel less. >> the youngest victim was 26-year-old aurora godoy. the oldest, who celebrated his 60th birthday this year. >> he should have came home at 4:00 and he should have sat down on the couch. that is what he does every day. he comes home from work. >> 14 families forever altered, left to share the legacies of the victims. an enormous loss not only to the community but to our country. still ahead, tracking the digital trail of terror. can law enforcement catch up with the way so many terror suspects use to communicate?
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we're back now with more on that final chilling message posted by the female attacker on facebook, pledging allegiance to the head of isis. there are well over a billion facebook users and social media networks that as they increasingly spread vile messages on social media, it is making the job of monitoring alarming
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messages nearly impossible as tom costello reports. >> reporter: it is a top priority for federal investors, finding and scrubbing all electronic social media communication that the san bernardino suspects may have utilized. >> we are going through a very large volume of electronic evidence. this is electronic evidence that these killers tried to destroy and tried to conceal from us. >> reporter: suspect tashfeen malik used a private facebook message to pledge allegiance to isis but it is likely no one noticed because it was private. isis has become very fluent in social media. in just one day last year it posted 40,000 tweets. boasting of its brutality. and recruiting new members through an exploding digital community that offers secret communications with the ability to permanently delete. >> technology moves faster than law enforcement so we have countless applications being created on a regular basis, all of them more conducive to being secretive.
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>> in san bernardino, the fbi will look for anything that might tip them off to future attacks or terror suspects. overseas or at home. >> allowing them in the future also to look for certain motives or key words or certain key indicators that may be able to prevent this or be able to be spotted online before it happens. >> reporter: twitter and facebook promised to remove any support for terrorism. but often it is too late. by the time facebook noticed malik's support for isis, the attacks were already underway. tom costello, nbc news, washington. and up next, the divide in this country over guns as rigid as ever after the san bernardino attack. we're back from
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we're back from the southern california condo complex where the san bernardino killers apparently used their home as a staging ground for terror. their home part of the complex behind me. the arsenal they were able to amass and use to murder so many has reignited the highly-contentious battle in this country
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over guns. and as hallie jackson reports, it is a fight with no easy answers. >> reporter: taking target practice today, amanda robinson, reflecting on the san bernardino shooting. >> i think it kind of shows that gun control doesn't necessarily fix the problem. the problem is the ideology of the people using the guns. >> reporter: the iowa gun range visited by ted cruz today not calling off the campaign stop after the attack. >> you don't stop bad guys by taking away our guns. you stop bad guys by using our guns. >> reporter: republican candidates now arguing the conversation should be about terror control. >> they are still out there talking about gun control measures as if terrorists care about what our gun laws are. >> but democrats say stricter gun laws are key to fighting terror. >> a part of that strategy is to try to prevent terrorists from getting their hands on guns in our country. >> reporter: today, a provocative cover of "the new yorker" and on "the daily news," photographs of mass murderers. the paper calling them terrorists and including the head of
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the nra. americans who make up less than 5% of the world's population own more than 40% of the world's guns according to an international weapons research group. nearly as many guns as people now. and more sold recently. on black friday, a record number of background checks coming at a time when many feel vulnerable. >> when evil knocks on our door -- >> the nra releasing this video after the shooting in paris. >> the right to defend our families and ourself with our second amendment. >> reporter: many senate republicans argued they are defending the right as they voted down a bill to ban people on the terror watch list from buying guns, a proposal democrats call common sense. >> congress reflecting the divide and the rest of america, both sides in this debate dug in. hallie jackson, nbc news, washington. when we come back from southern california, have americans become numb to mass shootings? how do we keep from losing hope in times like these? san bernardino killers. ===vo
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jess=== new at 6, a man who attended the same mosque as this suspect, speaks out about the massacre. ===jan oc=== plus, the major change you could soon see at every restaurant in one bay area county. ===next close=== the news is next. here in southern california, and all across the country, americans are struggling to make sense of difficult times. today, as this community prepares to lay the victims to rest, ceremonies were held for victims of
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two other mass shootings in the last three weeks. nbc's kevin tibbles looks at how americans are trying to cope with these events without giving up hope. >> reporter: today the funeral of a fallen officer taken in last week's mass shooting in colorado springs. and a funeral of young californian, killed in the paris attack. as florist shops in san bernardino now prepare for their funerals. >> you don't think it will happen out here. >> reporter: the endless cycle of mass shootings has left people everywhere feeling uneasy and unsafe. monica maine is trying to process it all. >> i'm actually shocked that i'm not shocked. i'm just -- it's wrong. >> reporter: as americans try to adjust to new reality, they worry about becoming numb in a world on violent overload. >> you forget it because you become desensitized to it. >> reporter: this pastor counseled many
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who survived wednesday's horror. he struggles to find the words to tell his congregation. >> should we ever be numb? no. should we ever get complacent? no. should we ever get used to it? no. and at the same time it is our reality. >> so many of us on emotional lockdown. but the human spirit is also about hope. >> i pray for peace. peace on earth. and that we get it together as a society. >> reporter: as we pay our respects in a time of such uncertainty, the wish that a nation and a world can stand together. kevin tibbles, nbc news, san bernardino, california. >> and that will do it for us on this friday night. i'm lester holt. for all of us at nbc news, thank you for watching and good night. for the first time at "tashfeen
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malik", the wife of "syed farook." tonight, we go inside the killer couple's home, as the f-b-i declares it's now taking over this case. ==take sot== "we are now investigating these horrific acts as an act of terrorism." runs=:06 ==jan/take vo== a major revelation by the f-b-i, as we get an unusual look into lives of the husband and wife, who carried-out the mass a major revelation by the fbi as we get an unusual look into the wooif offense this husband and wife who carried out the massacre in san bernardino.
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a community still reeling tonight. >> friends and family are remembering their loved ones whose lives were cut short. >> there's still so many questions unanswered. first and foremost, the why. the motive. you're looking live at the suspect's apartment in city of redlands. an unusual move. the landlord opened the doors and let the media inside. we have team of reporters working the story. >> reporter: the fbi considering this and investigating all of this, what many people were fearing that it was an act of terrorism. take away number two is the circus atmosphere here in redlands just in front of that town home where the suspects were renting that town home.

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