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Friday, December 04, 2015

"At the end of the day, the work of amateurs"

by digby

Some actual real analysis and info from Richard Engle at MSNBC:
Tashfeen Malik's international background, she had spent most of her life in Saudi Arabia from a Pakistani family, moved to Saudi Arabia when she was about 2 years old, And then about five or sice years ago went back to pakistan to study to become a pharmacist and then met her husband and moved to the United States with him and went through all the security checks required to get that finace visa which is a rigorous process.

So there is not an indication that this is a sleeper cell, that this someone who was planted by ISIS, that was years in the making. More likely it was someone in the United States, unhappy with the way they were living, unhappy with the way they were seen, became radicalized there and founded, was part of a cell in the United States.

This is exactly the scenario that intelligence and law enforcement have been warning about. And they've warned specifically that the United States has a unique danger because of the easy access to weapons to firearms. It's not like a country where it's hard to get guns to carry out an attack as devastating as this one on their own.

It is still, at the end of the day, the work of amateurs. If you compare this to Paris there is an enormous difference. In Paris you had teams of skilled assassins who were operating with a coordinated plan with a mastermind, with ISIS clearly involved from the get go and these were trained killers who had a plan and operated according to plan. This couple didn't seem to know what they were doing. They had a bomb that didn't go off, they left most of their ammunition at home. They attacked one target and were perhaps going to another target but if you compare it to Paris it was clearly a much less professional kind of operation.

Kate Snow passing on the breathless reporting we've been seeing all morning:
Just to check one other thing there are reports that ISIS, now that this Facebook post has come out that perhaps an ISIS supportive media outlet is claiming at least some responsibility, not responsibility but claiming "yes, that was one of ours."
Engle, looking frustrated, replied:
Not exactly. And it's a clear distinction. After Paris, moments after Paris, ISIS starts claiming responsibility. "We did it, that was out operation." And then after a few days, it seems like every ISIS member in Raqqa, the ISIS capital in Syria, who could speak French put out a video and they were bragging about it and threatening and putting out videos celebrating this.

This case, ISIS has been very far behind. They've been following media reports. Initially the reports from ISIS supporters talked about three attackers, because if you'll remember very early when this news broke there was talk about three shooters and now they are saying two and that they're "one of us" and ISIS supporters are just saying this seems to be the act of "ISIS supporters" which has also been reported in the news media so it could be just circular reporting. But very different from Paris when immediately you had slick videos and everyone in OSIS back home in Syria beating their chests telling the world what a great job they had done.
Everyone is getting very, very excited over the idea that this was some kind of Manchurian candidate scenario with Tashfeen Malik groomed for years to marry an American Muslim so she could come into the US, seduce her husband into becoming a radical and carry out a terrorist attack. Lindsey Graham pretty much said so on TV this morning.

But ask yourself an important question: if this was a sophisticated plot, years in the making, does targeting a Christmas party full of county bureaucrats in San Bernardino really make a lot of sense? If this "sleeper" had been trained and groomed for this job, you'd think she would have come up with something with a little bit more political impact.

No, this is probably exactly what Engle says, an amateur pair of Lone Wolf killers in a land where they can easily get their hands on as much firepower as they want who carried out their own little jihad. It's no less devastating to the victims of their insanity, of course. But everyone needs to take a breath and recognize that this is likely no different than all the other mass shootings we've had this year.

And that is bad enough.

Oh, and by the way, the Republicans in congress once again voted down any restrictions on gun rights for suspected terrorists. Yesterday.

*And yes, I know the "watch list" is an abomination with no due process. But if it's ok to use it to bar someone from getting on an airplane it makes little sense that you can't use it to bar someone from buying a gun. I know the founders didn't put a "right to travel" in the Bill of Rights but I have a feeling that if they could weigh in they'd think that being free to fly on airplane was more important than a right to own an AR-15. In any case, they're dead and we aren't and it makes no sense that this "right to bear arms" is so sacrosanct that tens of thousands of people must die every year.