“The mother of Syed Rizwan Farook, the male shooter in the 2015 San Bernardino terrorist attack,” the U.S. Attorney for California’s central district reports, “has agreed to plead guilty to a federal criminal charge of intending to impede a federal criminal investigation by shredding a map her son generated in connection with the attack.”
Rafia Sultana Shareef, 66 also known as Rafia Farook, “has agreed to plead guilty to a one-count information charging her with alteration, destruction, and mutilation of records,” according to the March 3 statement.
After the attack, Shareef learned her son Syed had been identified as a suspect, and told family members that Syed and his wife Tashfeen Malik had perpetrated the attack at the Inland Regional Center. Shareef “fed into a shredder” Syed’s map, directly related to the planning of the attack that took place on December 2, 2015. For those who may have forgotten, Bringing Calm to Chaos: A Police Foundation Review of the San Bernardino Terrorist Attacks provides a chilling description by those on the scene.
“Out of the blue, multiple popping sounds crackled outside,” the report says. “Several of the county workers thought fireworks had been lit, but others recognized the sound as gunfire.” The burst claimed two victims, then the terrorists headed inside, to a room decorated for a holiday party.
“Suddenly, a door swung open and a person clad in all black, with a mask shielding his or her face, stepped inside, wielding what appeared to be an automatic rifle. Without saying a word, the person, now believed to be Rizwan Farook (the male assailant), opened fire.” Then Tashfeen Malik followed.
“She also wore all black and entered the room shooting. Together, the shooters fired more than 100 rounds.” The shooters then “hastily departed, heading out to a black SUV they had parked just outside, leaving behind a chaotic scene of noise, fear, and pain.”
As a patrol officer said, “It was the worst thing imaginable—some people were quiet, hiding, others were screaming or dying, grabbing at your legs because they wanted us to get them out, but our job at the moment was to keep going, That was the hardest part, stepping over them.”
In the ensuing chase and gun battle, Farook fired from the front of the black SUV with Malik firing from the back seat “out of a hole in the rear hatch of the vehicle.” All told they fired at least 81 rounds at the police, wounding one officer, who stayed in the fight as another officer dressed his wounds. One deputy “fired every gun that was available to him, consisting of a Mini-14, a shotgun, and a handgun.”
Police shooters hit Syed Farook 25 times, including one shot in the chin. The 13 shots that took down Tashfeen Malik included two to her head. Inside the SUV the police found “an additional 1,879 rounds of .223 ammunition and another 484 rounds of 9mm ammunition.”
Back at the scene, police also found “trigger apparatus to detonate the secondary devices,” a reference to bombs intended to increase the death toll among the first responders, a terrorist calling card. All told, the two Muslims killed 14 and left 22 wounded.
It was the deadliest attack by Islamic terrorists on American soil since 9/11. Even so, the Obama administration denied or downplayed Islam as a motive and even hesitated to invoke terrorism.
When that could not be denied, the alibi armory broke out its Islamophobia incantation. Syeda Jafri, spokewoman for Rialto Unified School District, near San Bernardino, told the reporters, “It’s a tragedy that the distortion of Islam is being so boldly manipulated by a few,” adding, “We will overcome this hysteria and Islamophobia through education.”
Shortly after the attack, the San Bernardino Sun reported, Rafia Farook’s attorneys told police she was “unaware of his plans or that he had been amassing materials that could be turned into bombs.” Now it turns out she was aware of her son’s plans and took pains to destroy evidence.
Syed Farook’s mother is slated to appear in federal court on March 16. She faces a maximum sentence of 20 years but according to the U.S. Attorney, “the plea agreement contemplates a sentence of no more than 18 months.”
Relatives of the 14 murder victims and the 22 wounded might think 18 months a bit on the lenient side. According to former Department of Homeland Security official Philip Haney, the attack might have been prevented if not for policies of the previous administration.
“I was a firsthand witness to how these policies deliberately prevented scrutiny of Islamist groups,” Haney explained. “The two San Bernardino jihadists, Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik, may have benefited from the administration’s closure of an investigation I initiated on numerous groups infiltrating radicalized individuals into this country.”
Late last month, Philip Haney was found shot dead in Amador County, California. The circumstances are highly suspicious, but to date no word of any federal investigation.
In 2016, Philip Haney authored See Something Say Nothing: A Homeland Security Officer Exposes the Government’s Submission to Jihad.