CNN’s Chris Cuomo sat down Friday with the San Bernardino shooters’ family attorneys. In this interview, Cuomo did not disappoint in our low expectation of him. Remember how hostile he was with me after devout Muslim jihadis attacked our free-speech event in Garland, Texas? In his interview with the family members’ lawyers, by contrast, he licks their boots and leaves a great many questions unanswered.
I am struck by the hostile, unrepentant tone of the family. The family blames the victims, saying that Farook’s co-workers once teased him about his beard. Liars. As if that might even come close to a justification.
They go on to say that the murderous attack had nothing to do with religion. “There is no evidence of any religious connection.” They said they met with the FBI, and that the FBI told them there was no terror connection. “We were in interviews with the FBI for three hours today and there is no evidence.” “No one has been able to find anything.”
In reality, the FBI has taken the lead in the case because it is terrorism and it has classified it as such. The New York Times reported: “On the day she and her husband killed 14 people and wounded 21 others in San Bernardino, Calif., a woman pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in a Facebook post, officials said Friday, as the F.B.I. announced that it was treating the massacre as an act of terrorism.”
The Times’ report contained more evidence as well, quoting FBI Director James Comey: “The investigation so far has developed indications of radicalization by the killers, and of potential inspiration by foreign terrorist organizations.” It added: “But he said that investigators had not found evidence that the killers were part of a larger group or terrorist cell.”
Chris Cuomo did not pursue any of this. He never mentioned that Tashfeen Malik pledged allegiance to the caliph of the Islamic State, or ISIS, during the bloody slaughter, or that she was linked to Pakistan’s most radical mosque.
The tone of the family remained hostile. When asked about Farook’s trip to Saudi Arabia, they insisted it was a righteous trip. He was making his pilgrimage (the haj) – as if that somehow exonerated Farook. If anything, it’s an indictment. It is proof of his piety and religiosity, which is consistent with that of all jihad attackers.
They go on to say that Farook’s wife, Tashfeen Malik, had no role in the murder or in the planning. This is morbidly comical, because according to numerous news reports, she is alleged to have “radicalized” her husband. Another comical note was struck when the family attorneys say that Farook and Malik didn’t commit the murders, insisting that Tashfeen was “too skinny to hold a gun.”
They also say that they were a very close-knit family. Very close – and yet in the same breath, we are expected to believe that none of the family members knew anything. Why didn’t Cuomo ask them about the bomb-making factory in the garage? They never saw all the equipment and materials such an operation would require? The neighbors were suspicious but the family wasn’t?
Attorney Muhammad said that Tashfeen took the mother to the house. Are we expected to believe that the mother never saw anything?
The CNN report also makes constant use of the word “conservative” (a euphemism for fanatical and devout). That is deliberate, too. The Farooks were the opposite of conservative: They were extreme.
Asking about Tahfeen Malik, Cuomo asked: “Was she known to have different views on faith as the family?” Tellingly, Mohammed Abuershaid: “No, She’s Muslim and so are they. It’s the same view.” That speaks volumes – and is a stunning indictment of the government and media assumption that all Muslims in the U.S. are moderate and eschew Islamic violence and hatred, except for the few who “misunderstand” their religion and become “radicalized.”
But you’ll never hear about that on CNN.