US admits to scanning visa applicants' social media

Scrutiny of immigrants to the US questioned in wake of San Bernardino murders after it was found that the couple in question were falsely accused of posting Facebook messages supporting ISIL

US admits to scanning visa applicants' social media

World Bulletin / News Desk

The U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security has been monitoring the social media accounts of those who apply to immigrate since early 2015, the country’s top homeland security official said Wednesday.

Speaking during a press briefing, Jeh Johnson told reporters that his department has been scanning the social media accounts of individuals for almost one year before granting any immigration benefits. 

"Under my leadership as secretary, we in fact began to consult social media in connection with conferring various immigration benefits and we will be doing more of this," Johnson said.

"Any reports or partial reports to the contrary are simply false."

Johnson's statement came after the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has faced criticism after media reports suggested that the country lacks rigorous security checks while monitoring a visa applicant.

The department was criticized specifically for not monitoring some social media accounts properly before granting visas. 

The criticisms started after a couple, Syed Farook, 28, and Tashfeen Malik, 27, opened fire at a holiday party recently in San Bernardino, California, killing 14 people and injuring dozens of others.

The female shooter, Malik, from Pakistan, came to the U.S. on a fiance visa and married Farook – already a U.S. citizen.

Media outlets claimed that Malik had sent posts praising ISIL on her social media account before she was granted the U.S. visa.   

However, the FBI announced on Wednesday that there was no evidence that she was directed by ISIL. 


Güncelleme Tarihi: 17 Aralık 2015, 09:01