PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Minutes before the FBI announced it is investigating the San Bernardino shooting as an act of terrorism, Eyewitness News spoke with Rhode Island’s senior senator about the challenges the government is facing in the War on Terror.
The exact motive for the shootings that killed 14 people and injured more than 20 is still under investigation, according to the FBI.
“I would characterize this as one of these examples of self-radicalized terror attacks,” U.S. Sen. Jack Reed said Friday.
Sen. Reed is a ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. He said the notion that attackers have to be in big cities to have contacts to carry out events like this is no longer true.
“You can sort of be in any place around the globe now and have access to some of these messages,” Reed said. “And if it affects you the wrong way and you have other grievances, it could produce this type of terrible situation.”
Authorities said Friday that one of the accused shooters, Tashfeed Malik, pledged her allegiance to ISIS online before the attack.
Sen. Reed said the U.S. has intelligence agencies that identify and monitor social media traffic of people overseas who are trying to recruit in America.
“What’s so surprising is that even their family members who they’re close to had no indication, seriously, that they were intending to do anything like this,” Reed said.
According to Sen. Reed, the U.S. should encourage true Islamic leaders to speak out against ISIS in a compelling way, both in the Middle East and here in the U.S.