WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, on Tuesday called for the government to start screening the social media accounts of anyone who wants to enter the United States through a visa program.
Buchanan called reports that one of the San Bernardino terrorists pledged support to Islamic jihad on Facebook two years ago "staggering incompetence" on the part of the government's screening process. The female suspect in the shooting reportedly sent at least two private messages on Facebook to a small group of Pakistani friends in 2012 and 2014, pledging her support for Islamic jihad and saying she hoped to join the fight one day. The messages were posted before Malik, 29, entered the United States on a K-1 fiancée visa in July 2014.
"We should have been tracking their social media all along, but apparently our government was too concerned about political correctness and violating the privacy rights of foreigners," Buchanan said. "This woman never should have been allowed into our country after pledging Islamic jihad on Facebook."
The House is scheduled to vote Tuesday on a bill requiring the administration to develop a social media strategy to combat terrorists, but Buchanan said the administration shouldn't wait for Congress.
"We have heard repeatedly that terrorists use social media as a recruitment and communication tool and yet we don't bother to screen their online activity before allowing them into America?" Buchanan asked in the release.