The Obama administration rejected a 2011 proposal to authorize officials to vet the social media accounts of visa applicants, according to a Department of Homeland Security memo obtained by MSNBC.
The memo reportedly asserted that analyzing visa applicants’ social media accounts could help uncover potential evidence of “fraud, crime” and “national security” threats.
Citing a former senior DHS official, MSNBC’s Ari Melber reported that in addition to the proposal being rejected, officials were unable to even access social media sites due to a “firewall” intended to block employees from accessing them online.
“This very memo…went through layers of review, went up the line, a year of reviews, it would authorize this type of access, it would try to create this program, and it was ultimately not adopted,” Melber said on “Morning Joe” Thursday.
Melber reported the Obama administration decided not to strengthen the vetting process partly out of concerns about "privacy, civil liberties and the rules that do govern."
MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, visibly surprised, argued there is no expectation of privacy when it comes to public social media posts on sites like Facebook.
"That's why the privacy concerns voiced by the administration seem so confounding," he said.
Read the three-page memo below via MSNBC:
Policy Memorandum Social Networking Site Redacted
San Bernardino terrorist Tashfeen Malik entered the U.S. on a "fiance" visa. Malik and her husband, Syed Farook, went on to kill 14 people and injure dozens more in a deadly terrorist attack in California.
The FBI confirmed that Malik and Farook discussed violent jihad and martyrdom on social media, however, officials said on Wednesday that the messages were private.