Malik and Farook pass through Chicago airport
Malik and Farook pass through Chicago airportReuters

San Bernardino shooters Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik may have married as a ploy to fool American immigration authorities it was suggested at a Senate hearing Wednesday about the deadly attack. 

FBI Director James Comey testified on Capitol Hill Wednesday that Farook and Malik had discussed jihad and martyrdom even before they became engaged, meaning they were radicalized as early as the end of 2013. 

Malik first arrived in the US on a Pakistani passport and a fiancee visa. The couple wed last year. 

At the hearing, Senator Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) suggested Malik may have given false information on her visa application.

Comey, meanwhile, noted the couple had been inspired by foreign terror organizations, but said there was no evidence such an organization arranged the match. 

"We're working very hard to understand exactly their association and the source of their inspiration," Comey said. "We're also working very hard to understand whether there was anybody else involved with assisting them, with supporting them, with equipping them." 

"And we're working very, very hard to understand, did they have other plans? Either for that day or earlier, and that work continues."

If a terrorist group did, in fact, send the couple to the US to carry out an attack, Comey said, "that would be a very, very important thing to know."