California shooters spoke of jihad as early as late 2013: FBI director

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WASHINGTON, Dec 9 (Reuters) - The couple who killed 14 people in San Bernardino last week were radicalized before they met online and spoke of jihad and martyrdom to each other as early as late 2013, FBI director James Comey said on Wednesday.

"They were actually radicalized before they started ... dating each other online, and as early as the end of 2013 they were talking to each other about jihad and martyrdom before they became engaged," Comey said at a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The FBI believes the couple were inspired by foreign terrorist organizations, and is working to understand the nature of their association and the source of their inspiration, he added.

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California shooters spoke of jihad as early as late 2013: FBI director
REDLANDS, CA - DECEMBER 2: A SWAT team member stands watch with a rifle pointed at a home being investigated by police is shown after a mass shooting at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino December 2, 2105 in Redlands, California. Multiple fatalities and injuries were reported in the shooting (Photo by Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Law enforcement officers investigate a suspicious bag, later found not to be a threat, on Victoria Avenue after a mass shooting at the Inland Regional Center on Wednesday, December 2, 2015 in San Bernardino, California. At least 14 people were killed in a gun attack on a holiday party, triggering a massive manhunt that ended when police shot dead two heavily armed suspects -- a man and a woman -- on a quiet residential street. AFP PHOTO / PATRICK T. FALLON / AFP / Patrick T. Fallon (Photo credit should read PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP/Getty Images)
SAN BERNARDINO, USA - DECEMBER 02: Yellow stripe is seen as the US Security Forces secure the area following a shooting that killed multiple people at a social services center for the disabled in San Bernardino, California of United States on December 02, 2015. Two suspects in a deadly mass shooting that killed 14 victims at a social services facility in California were killed after a confrontation with police, authorities said Wednesday. The initial shooting occurred earlier Wednesday when at least one shooter opened fire in San Bernardino at the Inland Regional Center, which provides services to persons with developmental disabilities and their families. At least 17 others were injured. (Photo by Mintaha Neslihan Eroglu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
SAN BERNARDINO, CA - DECEMBER 2: A police officer officer guards a police line as officers prepare to raid the home of one or more suspects of a mass shooting at the Inland Regional Center by multiple gunmen on December 2, 2015 near San Bernardino, California. Police continue to investigate the shooting that left at least 14 people dead and another 17 injured. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
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SAN BERNARDINO, CA - DECEMBER 2: Police place a marker along E. San Bernardino Ave. where a shootout occurred December 2, 2015 in San Bernardino, California. Multiple fatalities and injuries were reported as police search for suspects still at large. (Photo by Rick Loomis/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Armed police personnel walk along closed off streets in the San Bernardino neighborhood near the intersection of Richardson and Gould where a house was searched on December 2, 2015. A man and a woman suspected of carrying out a deadly shooting at a center for the disabled in California were killed in a shootout with police, while a third person was detained, police said. AFP PHOTO / FREDERIC J. BROWN / AFP / FREDERIC J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
SAN BERNARDINO, CA - DECEMBER 2: A police helicopter circles as officers search for a possible suspect following a shootout with suspects of a mass shooting at the Inland Regional Center by multiple gunmen on December 2, 2015 in San Bernardino, California. Police continue to investigate the shooting that left at least 14 people dead and another 17 injured. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
Law enforcement officers search for the suspects of a mass shooting December 2, 2015 in San Bernardino, California. A man and a woman suspected of carrying out a deadly shooting at a center for the disabled were killed in a shootout with police, while a third person was detained, police said. AFP PHOTO / PATRICK T. FALLON / AFP / Patrick T. Fallon (Photo credit should read PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP/Getty Images)
(Photo: Inside Edition)
(Photo: Inside Edition)
(Photo: Inside Edition)
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Law enforcement officers search for the suspects of a mass shooting December 2, 2015 in San Bernardino, California. A man and a woman suspected of carrying out a deadly shooting at a center for the disabled were killed in a shootout with police, while a third person was detained, police said. AFP PHOTO / PATRICK T. FALLON / AFP / Patrick T. Fallon (Photo credit should read PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP/Getty Images)
SAN BERNARDINO, CA - DECEMBER 2: A SWAT unit mobilizes near Richardson Street after a mass shooting at the Inland Regional Center on December 2, 2105 in San Bernardino, California. Multiple fatalities and injuries were reported as police search for up to three suspects who are still at-large. (Photo by Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
SAN BERNARDINO, CA - DECEMBER 2: Law enforcement officers search for a possible suspect following a shootout with suspects of a mass shooting at the Inland Regional Center by multiple gunmen on December 2, 2015 in San Bernardino, California. Numerous deaths and injuries have been reported. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
Law enforcement officers search for the suspects of a mass shooting December 2, 2015 in San Bernardino, California. A man and a woman suspected of carrying out a deadly shooting at a center for the disabled were killed in a shootout with police, while a third person was detained, police said. AFP PHOTO / PATRICK T. FALLON / AFP / Patrick T. Fallon (Photo credit should read PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP/Getty Images)
SAN BERNARDINA, CA - DECEMBER 2: A search team goes door-to-door looking for the third suspect in a residential neighborhood after a mass shooting at the Inland Regional Center on December 2, 2105 in San Bernardino, California. Multiple fatalities and injuries were reported as police search for up to three suspects who are still at-large. (Photo by Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
SAN BERNARDINO, CA - DECEMBER 02: A California Highway Patrol officer stands with his weapon as authorities pursued the suspects in a shooting that occurred at the Inland Regional Center on December 2, 2015 in San Bernardino, California. Police continue to search for suspects in the shooting that left at least 14 people dead and another 17 injured. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
SAN BERNARDINO, CA - DECEMBER 02: A California Highway Patrol officer stands with his weapon as authorities pursued the suspects in a shooting that occurred at the Inland Regional Center on December 2, 2015 in San Bernardino, California. Police continue to search for suspects in the shooting that left at least 14 people dead and another 17 injured. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
SAN BERNARDINO, CA - DECEMBER 02: A San Bernadino Sheriff helicopter flys above a neighborhood as authorities pursue suspects of the shooting at the Inland Regional Center on December 2, 2015 in San Bernardino, California. Police continue to search for suspects in the shooting that left at least 14 people dead and another 17 injured. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
SAN BERNARDINO, CA - DECEMBER 2: Officers swarm San bernardino Ave at Richardson Street near where suspects were shot in a black SUV December 2, 2015 in San Bernardino, California. Multiple fatalities and injuries were reported as police search for suspects still at large. (Photo by Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
SAN BERNARDINO, CA - DECEMBER 2: Ambulances leave the scene of a mass shooting at the Inland Regional Center on December 2, 2105 in San Bernardino, California. Multiple fatalities and injuries were reported as police search for up to three suspects who are still at-large. (Photo by Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
SAN BERNARDINO, CA - DECEMBER 2: Police draw guns on San Bernardino Avenue while chasing suspects in an SUV December 2, 2015 in San Bernardino, California. Multiple fatalities and injuries were reported as police search for suspects still at large. (Photo by Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
SAN BERNARDINO, CA - DECEMBER 2: Police draw guns on San Bernardino Avenue while chasing suspects in an SUV December 2, 2015 in San Bernardino, California. Multiple fatalities and injuries were reported as police search for suspects still at large. (Photo by Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
SAN BERNARDINO, CA - DECEMBER 2: Police and emergency vehicles line Waterman Avenue in front of the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, scene of a mass shooting on December 2, 2105 in San Bernardino, California. Multiple fatalities and injuries were reported as police search for up to three suspects who are still at large. (Photo by Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
SAN BERNARDINO, CA - DECEMBER 2: Police and emergency vehicles line Waterman Avenue in front of the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, scene of a mass shooting on December 2, 2105 in San Bernardino, California. Multiple fatalities and injuries were reported as police search for up to three suspects who are still at large. (Photo by Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Police at the scene of a shooting on December 2, 2015 in San Bernardino, California. One or more gunman opened fire inside a building in San Bernardino in California, with reports of 20 victims at a center that provides services for the disabled. Police were still hunting for the shooter, saying one to three possible suspects were involved. Heavily armed SWAT teams, firefighters and ambulances swarmed the scene, located about an hour east of Los Angeles, as police warned residents away. AFP PHOTO / FREDERIC J. BROWN / AFP / FREDERIC J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
SAN BERNARDINO, CA - DECEMBER 02: Members of the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force stand outside of a press conference regarding the shooting that occurred at the Inland Regional Center on December 2, 2015 in San Bernardino, California. Multiple fatalities were reported as police search for up to three suspects who are still at large. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
SAN BERNARDINO, CA - DECEMBER 02: Ambulances pull out of a staging area near the Inland Regional Center where a shooting occurred earlier in the day on December 2, 2015 in San Bernardino, California. Multiple fatalities were reported as police search for up to three suspects who are still at large. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
A heavily armed officer sets up a perimeter near the site of a shooting that took place on December 2, 2015 in San Bernardino, California. One or more gunman opened fire inside a building in San Bernardino in California, with reports of 20 victims at a center that provides services for the disabled. Police were still hunting for the shooter, saying one to three possible suspects were involved. Heavily armed SWAT teams, firefighters and ambulances swarmed the scene, located about an hour east of Los Angeles, as police warned residents away. AFP PHOTO / FREDERIC J. BROWN / AFP / FREDERIC J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
SAN BERNARDINO, CA - DECEMBER 2: San Bernardino County Sheriffs deputies respond to a mass shooting at the Inland Regional Center December 2, 2015 in San Bernardino, California. Multiple fatalities were reported as police search for up to three suspects who are still at large. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
SAN BERNARDINO, CA - DECEMBER 2: A San Bernardino County Sheriffs Department investigator responds to a mass shooting at the Inland Regional Center December 2, 2015 in San Bernardino, California. Multiple fatalities were reported as police search for up to three suspects who are still at large. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
SAN BERNARDINO, CA - DECEMBER 2: Employees and other people are evacuated by bus from the site of a mass shooting at the Inland Regional Center December 2, 2015 in San Bernardino, California. Multiple fatalities were reported as police search for up to three suspects who are still at large. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
Police escort civilians away from the 1300 block of S. Waterman Street near the site of a shooting took place on December 2, 2015 in San Bernardino, California. One or more gunman opened fire inside a building in San Bernardino in California, with reports of 20 victims at a center that provides services for the disabled. Police were still hunting for the shooter, saying one to three possible suspects were involved. Heavily armed SWAT teams, firefighters and ambulances swarmed the scene, located about an hour east of Los Angeles, as police warned residents away. AFP PHOTO / FREDERIC J. BROWN / AFP / FREDERIC J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
Police escort civilians away from the 1300 block of S. Waterman Street near the site of a shooting took place on December 2, 2015 in San Bernardino, California. One or more gunman opened fire inside a building in San Bernardino in California, with reports of 20 victims at a center that provides services for the disabled. Police were still hunting for the shooter, saying one to three possible suspects were involved. Heavily armed SWAT teams, firefighters and ambulances swarmed the scene, located about an hour east of Los Angeles, as police warned residents away. AFP PHOTO / FREDERIC J. BROWN / AFP / FREDERIC J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
Armed Sheriff's department personel man a roadblock at Waterman Street near the site of a shooting took place on December 2, 2015 in San Bernardino, California. One or more gunman opened fire inside a building in San Bernardino in California, with reports of 20 victims at a center that provides services for the disabled. Police were still hunting for the shooter, saying one to three possible suspects were involved. Heavily armed SWAT teams, firefighters and ambulances swarmed the scene, located about an hour east of Los Angeles, as police warned residents away. AFP PHOTO / FREDERIC J. BROWN / AFP / FREDERIC J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
SAN BERNARDINO, CA - DECEMBER 2: Police and fire personnel secure the scene where a mass shooting occurred at the Inland Regional Center on December 2, 2105 in San Bernardino, California. Multiple fatalities and injuries were reported as police search for up to three suspects who are still at large. (Photo by Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
SAN BERNARDINO, CA - DECEMBER 2: San Bernardino police offices in SWAT gear secure the scene where a mass shooting occurred at the Inland Regional Center on December 2, 2105 in San Bernardino, California. Multiple fatalities and injuries were reported as police search for up to three suspects who are still at large. (Photo by Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
A crowd gathers behind police line near the scene of a shooting on December 2, 2015 in San Bernardino, California. One or more gunman opened fire inside a building in San Bernardino in California, with reports of 20 victims at a center that provides services for the disabled. Police were still hunting for the shooter, saying one to three possible suspects were involved. Heavily armed SWAT teams, firefighters and ambulances swarmed the scene, located about an hour east of Los Angeles, as police warned residents away. AFP PHOTO / FREDERIC J. BROWN / AFP / FREDERIC J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
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