When news broke earlier today on Twitter that Enrique Marquez would get charged in connection to the San Bernardino terror attack, one responded, “What took so long?” My answer was that the FBI had to wait for Marquez to quit talking. After more than a week of spilling his guts, prosecutors finally made their move:
Enrique Marquez, the friend of terrorist Syed Rizwan Farook, was arrested Thursday and charged with conspiring to give material support to a terrorist plot, according to federal charges that allege the two men planned to attack Riverside Community College and a busy freeway during rush hour.
The 24-year-old Riverside resident once lived next door to Farook and purchased two of the semiautomatic rifles that Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, used in the attack that killed 14 people.
The three-count criminal complaint against Marquez represents a major development in the widening investigation of the third foreign terror attack in the U.S. this year, and the deadliest since 2001.
Major? Well, maybe, but hardly unexpected. It’s been known for more than a week that Marquez supplied the rifles used in the attack and acted as a straw-man purchaser for his terrorist buddy Syed. Marquez also reportedly admitted helping Farook plan an earlier attack that was later abandoned, and also put together pipe bombs with Farook as a “hobbyist.” How could federal prosecutors not charge him with 14 bodies on the ground in San Bernardino?
Ken White at Popehat gives us a slightly different look at the same problem:
I can imagine Marquez' lawyers' first talk with him. "Did you talk to the feds? "Only for ten days." ::headdesk::
— Popehat (@Popehat) December 17, 2015
Indeed. In situations like these, a lawyer can help a man in Marquez’ position to get some relief on charges in exchange for cooperation. Perhaps Marquez has an attorney and already cut a deal on that score, but at least so far it doesn’t appear to be the case. And if it’s not, prosecutors are unlikely to give Marquez much credit for helping them out after his material support to Farook for so long. Fourteen families want justice for murdered relatives, and two dozen more want justice for their wounds. Farook and Malik are dead, and that leaves Marquez holding the bag. Good luck with that one, Mr. Pipe Bomb Hobbyist.
Others in the federal government will have a few questions to answer, too:
U.S. authorities in Pakistan could have sought – but did not – a full background security investigation of San Bernardino shooter Tashfeen Malik before granting her a visa to enter the United States in 2014, according to a U.S. official familiar with the matter.
Consular officials in American embassies overseas can ask U.S. security agencies in Washington to produce a “Security Advisory Opinion,” or SAO, before the consulate decides whether to approve a U.S. visa application. As part of that process, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents stationed in the embassies can be tasked to carry out detailed checks in the applicant’s home country.
A deeper investigation was not, however, requested for Malik because routine background checks turned up no “derogatory information” that raised the suspicions of visa reviewers, the official said.
Hmmm. KTLA’s report from earlier today predicted charges that would allow for a hefty sentence, but also notes that the two lovebird-terrorists had discussed jihad and martyrdom by e-mail long before they met in person:
I’m guessing that Marquez will have a very long time to choose another hobby … perhaps the rest of his life.