Tester: Blind spot in immigration vetting process exposes U.S. to significant risk

Senator demands Dept. of Homeland Security review social media to counter terrorist threats

(U.S. Senate) – Following shocking news reports about the San Bernardino shooters’ use of social media, Senator Jon Tester today demanded that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) begin reviewing social media data to better identify potential terrorists and prevent them from entering the country.

News reports this week revealed that one of the two San Bernardino shooters, Tashfeen Malik, was granted a U.S. visa last year despite her expressed support for violent jihad against the West via social media. Those social media postings were never reviewed during any of Malik’s three background check screenings.

Tester, in a letter to DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson, called the current background check system “outdated and inadequate” and demanded the department update its immigration vetting policies to include a rigorous review of a visa applicant’s social media accounts.

“We continue to face threats in this country from those spouting violent extremist thoughts on social media,” said Tester, a senior member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee. “The Department must ensure that terrorist speech and terrorist content on social media are reviewed by U.S. officials as they conduct background investigation screenings on potential immigrants to the United States.”

Tester last week outlined his national security agenda, which included enhancing the visa waiver program and closing a loophole to prevent suspected terrorists from buying guns.

Tester’s letter to Secretary Jeh Johnson is available online HERE.