Obama calls San Bernardino shootings an ‘act of terror,’ but motive unknown – USA TODAY
WASHINGTONÂ â President Obama is moving cautiously toward acknowledging radicalÂ Islamist-inspired terrorism as the possible motivation in the San Bernardino shootings, saying the attacks show a need to “prevent people from falling victim to these hateful ideologies.”
“It is entirely possible that these two attackers were radicalized to commit this act of terror,” Obama said in his weekly radio address Saturday. “AndÂ if so, it would underscore a threat weâve been focused on for years â the danger of people succumbing to violent extremist ideologies.”
Obama’s comments â his first since speculating Thursday that the shootings might also be workplace violence âÂ reflect theÂ the evolvingÂ assessment by law enforcement officialsÂ who are nowÂ investigating the incident as terrorism.
FBI Director James Comey said Friday afternoon that there are indications ofÂ “radicalization byÂ the killers and theÂ potential inspiration by foreign terrorist organizations.”Â
Obama, who also taped his radio address Friday afternoon to be broadcast Saturday morning, cautioned that investigators are still learning about the killers and “working to get a full picture of their motives.”
“Itâs important to let the investigators do their job.Â We need to know all the facts,” he said.
The husband-and-wife shooters opened fire at a holiday party at a community center Wednesday, killing 14 and wounding 21 before being killed themselves in a shootout with police.Â U.S. officials have said the wife,Â Tashfeen Malik,Â had expressed support for the Islamic StateÂ âÂ also known as ISILÂ âÂ in a posting on her Facebook timeline.
“We know that ISIL and other terrorist groups are actively encouraging people â around the world and in our country â to commit terrible acts of violence, often times as lone wolf actors,” Obama said. “And even as we work to prevent attacks, all of us â government, law enforcement, communities, faith leaders â need to work together to prevent people from falling victim to these hateful ideologies.”
Obama also used his weekly radio address to urge Congress to close what he calls a no-fly gun “loophole.”
“Right now, people on the no-fly list can walk into a store and buy a gun.Â That is insane,” he said. “If youâre too dangerous to board a plane, youâre too dangerous, by definition, to buy a gun.”