ABC: US deliberately ignoring social-media posts in visa vetting

posted at 12:01 pm on December 14, 2015 by Ed Morrissey

Want to guess why five government agencies missed Tashfeen Malik’s social-media postings that declared her intent to conduct violent jihad on behalf of radical Islam? It turns out that they didn’t miss it at all. The Department of Homeland Security has a deliberate policy of not checking social media when vetting visa applications, ABC News reported this morning.

Want to guess why that policy exists? Again, three guesses and the first two don’t count:

Fearing a civil liberties backlash and “bad public relations” for the Obama administration, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson refused in early 2014 to end a secret U.S. policy that prohibited immigration officials from reviewing the social media messages of all foreign citizens applying for U.S. visas, a former senior department official said.

“During that time period immigration officials were not allowed to use or review social media as part of the screening process,” John Cohen, a former acting under-secretary at DHS for intelligence and analysis. Cohen is now a national security consultant for ABC News.

One current and one former senior counter-terrorism official confirmed Cohen’s account about the refusal of DHS to change its policy about the public social media posts of all foreign applicants.

While ABC names Johnson as the man who perpetuated this policy, it didn’t start with him, and Malik came in before this decision. The policy in place at that time would have been set by Janet Napolitano, who should not escape scrutiny for this nonsensical approach to national security. This failure might come as a big surprise to Congress, members of which have already begun to ask to expand vetting to social media after the terror attack in San Bernardino:

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., demanded Sunday that the U.S. immediately initiate a program that would check the social media sites of those admitted on visas.”

“Had they checked out Tashfeen Malik,” the senator said, “maybe those people in San Bernardino would be alive.”

Maybe so, but then DHS might have experienced “bad public relations.” When people say that political correctness kills, this is exactly the kind of consequence they mean.

The notion that this would be a civil-liberties issue is equally absurd. The Constitution does not cover visa applications from foreigners; there is no right to a visa. Furthermore, social media statements are public in nature, not private, so reading them and considering them in terms of security concerns for entry into the US has no civil-liberties involvement either. Public declarations of support for jihad should be not just acceptable criteria for vetting, it should be a no-brainer as an automatic denial of the visa application in an age of global Islamist terrorism.

This demonstrates a shocking lack of seriousness about the war on terror by the Obama administration, albeit part of an overall pattern. They are literally more concerned about public relations than security in the visa application process, according to ABC’s report. It comes as Barack Obama and the Democrats have attempted to change the subject to gun control in the wake of the San Bernardino attack, and to climate change when it comes to the spread of ISIS. This administration clearly has its own priorities, and getting serious about national security ranks lower than their need to engage in political correctness.


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Comments

Yeah, NASA can spy on us 24/7, but we can’t read social media which is open ended?

they lie on December 14, 2015 at 12:06 PM

…pretty funny sh*t coming from a bunch of losers who use a # for everything…

Pelosi Schmelosi on December 14, 2015 at 12:11 PM

Of course

Never assume that obama/Hillary side with you.

Schadenfreude on December 14, 2015 at 12:12 PM

This demonstrates a shocking lack of seriousness about the war on terror by the Obama administration, albeit part of an overall pattern. They are literally more concerned about public relations than security in the visa application process, according to ABC’s report.

So the IRS can scrutinize Tea Party American citizens, but DHS can’t scrutinize foreigners?

This is not a lack of seriousness, but rather a big tell in who this regime thinks is its enemies. And it ain’t militant Muslims.

Our federal government is infested with traitors.

rbj on December 14, 2015 at 12:12 PM

The Zuckerbergs side with their own pockets.

Most politicians side with theirs too.

PC will kill all.

I’d just love to see some PC heads fly, first.

Bow already.

Schadenfreude on December 14, 2015 at 12:13 PM

This administration clearly has its own priorities, and getting serious about national security ranks lower than their need to engage in political correctness.

I said it long ago. PC is literally killing us and the progs. love it. It’s time to water the tree of Liberty!

they lie on December 14, 2015 at 12:14 PM

The Department of Homeland Security has a deliberate policy of not checking social media when vetting visa applications, ABC News reported this morning.

The IRS thinks nothing of checking social media. Your potential employer probably has a policy of checking social media as part of the job application process. But never fear! If you’re a radical Muslim terrorist, DHS is going to let you slide.

Happy Nomad on December 14, 2015 at 12:15 PM

ABC: US Bush administration deliberately ignoring social-media posts in visa vetting

How it would read if we had a republican administration.

antipc on December 14, 2015 at 12:15 PM

So the IRS can scrutinize Tea Party American citizens, but DHS can’t scrutinize foreigners?

This is not a lack of seriousness, but rather a big tell in who this regime thinks is its enemies. And it ain’t militant Muslims.

Our federal government is infested with traitors.

rbj on December 14, 2015 at 12:12 PM

Yep. As far as the government is concerned, you are the security threat and you are the terrorist, not the San Bernardino killers.

Doomberg on December 14, 2015 at 12:16 PM

Is there still anyone who doesn’t understand who’s side these people are on?

Wake the F** k up people!..this is getting embarrassing already.

Mimzey on December 14, 2015 at 12:16 PM

Dead Americans is acceptable to the Obama administration.

Hurting the feelings of Muslims is absolutely NOT acceptable.

Priorities, you know.

widget on December 14, 2015 at 12:16 PM

This demonstrates a shocking lack of seriousness about the war on terror by the Obama administration, albeit part of an overall pattern

Michelle Obama: It’s Time to Bring Back Our Girls

#BringBackOurGirls

Pelosi Schmelosi on December 14, 2015 at 12:17 PM

Why do you think Dear Leader wants so many muslim immigrants…?

d1carter on December 14, 2015 at 12:22 PM

So we can kill foreigners with Hellfire missiles with no due process at all, but we can’t read their Facebook posts? (HEAD EXPLODING)

Jeh “Meh” Johnson on trial for murder in three million… two million, nine hundred ninety nine thousand nine hundred ninety-nine…

Marcola on December 14, 2015 at 12:23 PM

Merkel Confronts Facebook’s Zuckerberg Over Policing Hate Posts

Earlier this month, Facebook said it would step up efforts to target racist content on its German website. The company said Sept. 14 it would join forces with a German Internet watchdog, a non-profit group called Voluntary Self-Monitoring of Multimedia Service Providers, to monitor suspected hate postings.

…when are people going to WAKE THE BLEEP UP and realize just how dangerous to your security these people really are…

Pelosi Schmelosi on December 14, 2015 at 12:23 PM

I’ll bet Barry just found out about this like yesterday. /s

steveracer on December 14, 2015 at 12:24 PM

i am absolutely sickened. people DIED because of this policy.

Sachiko on December 14, 2015 at 12:26 PM

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., demanded Sunday that the U.S. immediately initiate a program that would check the social media sites of those admitted on visas.”

“Had they checked out Tashfeen Malik,” the senator said, “maybe those people in San Bernardino would be alive.”

Maybe so, but then DHS might have experienced “bad public relations.”

You know what causes “bad public relations”? Innocent Americans being murdered by Muslim terrorists from other countries. Try to spin that one, Obama Administration.

Doughboy on December 14, 2015 at 12:28 PM

Michelle Obama: It’s Time to Bring Back Our Girls

Pelosi Schmelosi on December 14, 2015 at 12:17 PM

Bill Clinton: It’s Time to Bring Back My Girls

Rix on December 14, 2015 at 12:28 PM

This has to be a new low for this incompetent administration.
This should be one of the most basic checks when it comes to granting a visa!!!!

weedisgood on December 14, 2015 at 12:30 PM

Clueless DHS official provides no answers during grilling on immigration, visa waiver program

Seemingly flustered by the barrage of questions she was unprepared for, she referred to the K1 visa program as the KY visa program.

…heh…how appropriate…since we’re the ones taking it up the @$$ from the stooooopid administration on a daily basis…

from Ace

We’ve some how perverted our views to the point where we, the citizens of the United States, have to prove our worthiness to live in the company of those who wish to come here. It’s insanity and it’s contributing to opposition to sustaining the current levels of immigration.

The burden to prove the value of letting people move here needs to be on the immigrants and their supporters here. Not the other way around.

Pelosi Schmelosi on December 14, 2015 at 12:30 PM

The problem begins when people in charge don’t believe in borders. We’re not citizens of the world; we’re citizens of the US, and invited guests. At least that’s how it should be.

BKeyser on December 14, 2015 at 12:30 PM

Will people finally understand that this administration is siding with Islam and facilitating it’s spread?

darwin on December 14, 2015 at 12:34 PM

Political correctness is the assassin of common sense and reason….

Hank_Scorpio on December 14, 2015 at 12:35 PM

That criminal in the WH needs to be deported……

ultracon on December 14, 2015 at 12:38 PM

I trust in Obama’s judgment

nonpartisan on December 14, 2015 at 12:40 PM

Fearing a civil liberties backlash…

Civil liberties are freedoms for citizens.
This, by definition, does not cover visa-applicants.

Tzetzes on December 14, 2015 at 12:40 PM

Can the families of the SB dead sue DHS…?

d1carter on December 14, 2015 at 12:41 PM

The notion that this would be a civil-liberties issue is equally absurd. The Constitution does not cover visa applications from foreigners; there is no right to a visa.

Any legal distinction between human beings is illegitimate!

All people are equal so every human being on Earth has the same rights as you and I do!

Leftist logic, such as it is.

Brian1972 on December 14, 2015 at 12:42 PM

I trust in Obama’s judgment

nonpartisan on December 14, 2015 at 12:40 PM

Way to address the issue – just like a court eunuch.

gwelf on December 14, 2015 at 12:44 PM

Yes Nonpartisan. Clasp your figurine of Obama, close your eyes, and whisper your prayers to him. He is your God, after all.

Personally, I think the track record of The Father, The Son, and The Holy Ghost is better than that of Obama, so I choose to worship them. You put your faith in Obama that he will keep you safe.

But don’t wonder why people think you are an idiot. That should be self evident.

Vanceone on December 14, 2015 at 12:44 PM

Civil liberties are freedoms for citizens.
This, by definition, does not cover visa-applicants.

Tzetzes on December 14, 2015 at 12:40 PM

See above. If you and I enjoy protections under the Constitution, then everyone everywhere does too because EQUALITY!

I trust in Obama’s judgment

nonpartisan on December 14, 2015 at 12:40 PM

What an idiot.

Brian1972 on December 14, 2015 at 12:45 PM

I trust in Obama’s judgment

nonpartisan on December 14, 2015 at 12:40 PM

Bernie Madoff would like to introduce you to an investment strategy.

antipc on December 14, 2015 at 12:46 PM

Who thinks ABC News (or any other media outlet) will make a big deal of this to Obama’s face today at the Pentagon presser waiting to happen?

Yeah, me neither.

Sacramento on December 14, 2015 at 12:47 PM

Reassurance on the way.

President Barack Obama will deliver a speech about countering the so-called Islamic State (IS) during a visit to the Pentagon on Monday.
Mr Obama is expected to speak at 12:45 local time

He is seeking to ease public concern following attacks in California and France, at the hands of militants who were either loyal or sympathetic to IS.

On Thursday he will visit the National Counterterrorism Center in Virginia, where he is also expected to speak.

kcewa on December 14, 2015 at 12:50 PM

Obama is so politically correct it’s annoying…

sorrowen on December 14, 2015 at 12:54 PM

i am absolutely sickened. people DIED because of this policy.

Sachiko on December 14, 2015 at 12:26 PM

DHS couldn’t risk the possibility of any “bad public relations”. You know how it goes.

antipc on December 14, 2015 at 12:56 PM

I trust in Obama’s judgment
nonpartisan on December 14, 2015 at 12:40 PM
What judgement? Obama has the worst kind of judgement based on politically correct college campus Academia….

sorrowen on December 14, 2015 at 12:57 PM

Since when, pray tell, did the DHS ever establish “good” public relations?

vnvet on December 14, 2015 at 1:00 PM

I trust in Obama’s judgment ideology.

nonpartisan on December 14, 2015 at 12:40 PM

There ya go.

antipc on December 14, 2015 at 1:05 PM

Zuckerberg is hit on this. Now they’ll take their business elsewhere.

cimbri on December 14, 2015 at 1:14 PM

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., demanded Sunday that the U.S. immediately initiate a program that would check the social media sites of those admitted on visas.”

“Had they checked out Tashfeen Malik,” the senator said, “maybe those people in San Bernardino would be alive.”

Chuck Schumer, Islamophobe.

Ward Cleaver on December 14, 2015 at 1:19 PM

I trust in Obama’s judgment

nonpartisan on December 14, 2015 at 12:40 PM

You’re a dope. And a dupe.

Ward Cleaver on December 14, 2015 at 1:25 PM

Obama is so politically correct it’s annoying…

sorrowen on December 14, 2015 at 12:54 PM

You’re welcome.

bigmacdaddy on December 14, 2015 at 1:34 PM

PC over American lives…

voiceofreason on December 14, 2015 at 1:41 PM

We have to allow a sufficient number of terrorists / terrorist attacks into the US so Obama can declare martial law.

Properly screening visa applicants and vetting or banning refugees would hinder that goal.

Oxymoron on December 14, 2015 at 1:41 PM

I trust in Obama’s judgment

nonpartisan on December 14, 2015 at 12:40 PM

Most carnies would love to run into you.

Dr. Carlo Lombardi on December 14, 2015 at 1:46 PM

“Had they checked out Tashfeen Malik,” the senator said, “maybe those people in San Bernardino would be alive.”

Maybe so, but then DHS might have experienced “bad public relations.” When people say that political correctness kills, this is exactly the kind of consequence they mean.

And people wonder why Trump is still at the top of the polls?

The notion that this would be a civil-liberties issue is equally absurd. The Constitution does not cover visa applications from foreigners; there is no right to a visa. Furthermore, social media statements are public in nature, not private, so reading them and considering them in terms of security concerns for entry into the US has no civil-liberties involvement either. Public declarations of support for jihad should be not just acceptable criteria for vetting, it should be a no-brainer as an automatic denial of the visa application in an age of global Islamist terrorism.

This demonstrates a shocking lack of seriousness about the war on terror by the Obama administration, albeit part of an overall pattern. They are literally more concerned about public relations than security in the visa application process, according to ABC’s report. anything else at all

Just thought Ed’s remarks would bear repeating, but the Commentariat has addressed most of the obvious issues.

AesopFan on December 14, 2015 at 1:52 PM

To wit:

You know what causes “bad public relations”? Innocent Americans being murdered by Muslim terrorists from other countries. Try to spin that one, Obama Administration.

Doughboy on December 14, 2015 at 12:28 PM

Since when, pray tell, did the DHS ever establish “good” public relations?

vnvet on December 14, 2015 at 1:00 PM

So the IRS can scrutinize Tea Party American citizens, but DHS can’t scrutinize foreigners?

This is not a lack of seriousness, but rather a big tell in who this regime thinks is its enemies. And it ain’t militant Muslims.

Our federal government is infested with traitors.

rbj on December 14, 2015 at 12:12 PM

And the billboard text that should be up all over the country (from Ace)

The burden to prove the value of letting people move here needs to be on the immigrants and their supporters here. Not the other way around.

Pelosi Schmelosi on December 14, 2015 at 12:30 PM

AesopFan on December 14, 2015 at 1:54 PM

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., demanded Sunday that the U.S. immediately initiate a program that would check the social media sites of those admitted on visas.”

Next week he will be demanding a program to check the social media of Americans so those with disapproved speech can be added to the terror watch no guns list

agmartin on December 14, 2015 at 2:08 PM

I used to represent some big chemical companies in their exposure/injury cases, this was back 2001 – 2006.

Even back then, the first thing I’d do when I got a new case was google the plaintiff’s name. Caught one lady scamming that way.

#basic

Lance Corvette on December 14, 2015 at 2:10 PM

Many of us made comment about this on the thread using the word “missed.”

So, everything Emperor zero said about extreme vetting of refugees was total bullshit as many of us expected.

They aren’t checking at all. A bunch of clueless PC morons are responsible for the safety of the United States.

We are so completely forked.

How many have to die before Zero gets impeached? Tens of thousands?

BTW he hasn’t visited San Berbardino yet.

dogsoldier on December 14, 2015 at 2:17 PM

Political correctness may have been the reason for the policy, but why make it secret?

The only reason that is plausible is to prevent oversight by Congress or the people. How many laws were broken in keeping this policy secret?

nemo on December 14, 2015 at 2:18 PM

Why is there a picture of Obama doing a face palm? That suggests he is as flabbergasted as anyone.

The Notorious G.O.P on December 14, 2015 at 2:18 PM

“Had they checked out Tashfeen Malik,” the senator said, “maybe those people in San Bernardino would be alive.”

Of course they’d be alive you PC screwball! This administration has American blood on its hands and the MSM diddles. Oh how I loath the leftist media. And this goon Schumer wants to take our guns?

ChowHound on December 14, 2015 at 3:05 PM

Another policy so counter-intuitive to basic logic, as to only be concluded as intentional collusion with a foreign enemy, that will finally force a bi-partisan effort in Congress to do absolutely nothing about it.

awake on December 14, 2015 at 3:12 PM

So what? The Obama regime and enables leave tens of thousands of illegal aliens with criminal records on the streets, as they like to say about guns. Does anyone think anyone in the Obama regime would kick anyone out of the USA for writing bad things? Especially if they vote Democrat.

Merthin on December 14, 2015 at 3:29 PM

Can the families of the SB dead sue DHS…?

d1carter on December 14, 2015 at 12:41 PM

The courts will rule that they do not have standing.

ibid on December 14, 2015 at 4:18 PM

Gut the Federal government like a roasting pig. There is so much sh1t inside it ruins the whole thing.

Gut it.

Jaibones on December 14, 2015 at 4:58 PM

I trust in Obama’s judgment, which has already resulted in the worst terror attack on US soil since 9/11/2001.

nonintelligent on December 14, 2015 at 12:40 PM

F-IXED.

Del Dolemonte on December 14, 2015 at 5:02 PM

E.P.A. Broke the Law by Using Social Media to Push Water Rule, Auditor Finds

Schadenfreude on December 14, 2015 at 5:42 PM

Charge Janet Napolitano with murder.

Deadeye on December 14, 2015 at 5:44 PM