- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 6, 2015

President Obama will speak to the nation Sunday about not giving into fear and about the administration’s efforts to prevent terrorism, Attorney General Loretta Lynch said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“What you’re going to hear from him is a discussion about what government is doing to ensure all of our highest priority — the protection of the American people,” Ms. Lynch said.

Mr. Obama will call for calm and for the American people not to give into fear, Ms. Lynch said.

But his speech will likely be political as well in the wake of Wednesday’s attack in San Bernardino, California, that left 14 people dead and 21 wounded and last month’s assaults in Paris that left 130 dead — incidents of domestic and international terrorism that have set Western democracies on edge.

Ms. Lynch said Mr. Obama will ask “Congress to review measures and take action,” likely meaning more stringent gun control measures, about which the president and fellow Democrats have been outspoken.

“I think we have a number of issues here,” the attorney general said. “I think dealing with guns is one way to handle the violent crime issues that we have in this country.”

In addition to previewing Mr. Obama’s remarks, Ms. Lynch spoke about the San Bernardino attack, saying that federal agencies were investigating it as an act of terrorism because of “indications that we do have of radicalization” of the attackers.

Investigators identified the attackers as Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, who had pledged loyalty to the Islamic State in a Facebook posting just before the massacre. Authorities have suggested she was “self-radicalized,” probably through the Internet.

Ms. Lynch could not confirm that Farook and Malik were radicalized, or that there was any evidence they were part of a larger terrorist group or cell. She said all agencies investigating the rampage were looking into the perpetrators’ backgrounds, including “how they grew up, where they grew up, where they met,” she said. “All of these things will provide us guidance.”

The Justice Department is working with intelligence communities in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, she added.

Farook was a natural-born U.S. citizen of Pakistani heritage; Malik was a Pakistani national who lived in Saudi Arabia and had entered the U.S. under a “fiancee” visa.

Authorities investigating the shooting, including the FBI; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and the U.S. Marshals Service, are conducting a “wide-ranging investigation,” she said. Since the attack, investigators have conducted more than 300 interviews, but Ms. Lynch said it may take time to know more because the investigation “is a marathon and not a sprint.”

Republican legislators took to the airwaves Sunday, calling for better intelligence and surveillance access of potential terrorists, and saying that the National Security Agency’s now-defunct bulk-data collection program should never have been rescinded.

GOP presidential candidate Gov. Chris Christie blasted the Obama administration for working to “pull back on our surveillance capability with the NSA,” saying it was “wrong to demoralize our intelligence community.”

“The fact is that we need to strengthen our intelligence, strengthen our law enforcement community, and work just as hard as we can to try to intercept this, knowing that in a free and open society, we’re not going to be able to stop every attack,” the New Jersey governor said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

Ms. Lynch focused on the “see something, say something” approach, encouraging Americans to alert authorities if they feel something is suspicious.

“Our view is that if you have concerns that rise to a suspicion that someone that you either know or see on a regular basis is evidencing a change in behavior or discussion — threatening language,” she said. “Alert law enforcement rather than taking matters into your own hands.”

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