No time to gin up terrorism charges: Congressman

Questions over whether the San Bernardino massacre suspects were radicalized are legitimate, but people should not rush to link them to terrorism, Rep. Jim Himes told CNBC on Friday

In an interview "Squawk Box," Himes said recent media reports are largely consistent with briefings he has received as a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

"There are still an awful lot of questions. There are some legitimate questions about radicalization here. Those questions haven't been answered. It's still not time to jump to conclusions," said Himes, D-Conn.

"What is ridiculous is saying that something is terrorism before all facts are in," he added. "Nobody who is responsible should start ginning people up on terrorism until all the facts are in."

Authorities say San Bernardino County health inspector Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, stormed a holiday party for his fellow employees on Wednesday and opened fire, killing 14 people and wounding 21.

Farook was a U.S. citizen and devout Muslim. Malik was from Pakistan and moved to the United States last year on a visa for foreigners who marry U.S. citizens.

Witnesses have told authorities Farook left the party in an agitated state before returning to launch the attack. The couple were killed in a shootout with police after they fled the scene.

Three undetonated pipe bombs were also found at the scene, and a search of the couple's house turned about additional bombs and thousands of rounds of ammunition.

On Thursday, authorities told NBC News they were investigating signs that Farook had been radicalized. They said he had been in contact with foreign persons of interest to U.S. authorities, as well as Los Angeles area residents who had expressed jihadi-oriented views.

The FBI has not ruled out terrorism as a motive, but has not reached any conclusions.

"We do not know the motive. ... It would be irresponsible of me and be way too early to speculate on motive," David Bowdich, assistant director in charge of the FBI in Los Angeles.

A brother-in-law of Farook said the attack was a "personal act" and said Farook was not a political person.

Himes cautioned that being radicalized can mean a range of things, including attending a terrorist training camp, downloaded propaganda videos or being in contact with a radical Islamic imam.

If indeed authorities find evidence the attack was intended as an act of terror, it would more closely align with the Boston bombings than a September 11-style attack, Himes said.

"Two people who get disgruntled for whatever reason — and yes, maybe they were radicalized, or whatever — who take the time to go on the Internet to learn how to build a pipe bomb, who can get guns, it can cause an awful lot of havoc."

"In some ways you worry about it more because it's much harder to get at what we call these lone wolves who may simply be, (a) radicalized and (b) educated on the Internet and we may never know about it."

Himes' state was where a gunman killed 27 people before killing himself three years ago this month.