Why didn't U.S. officials see Tashfeen Malik's social media terror ties?

by Samantha Gobba
Posted 12/15/15, 02:07 pm

An Obama administration policy designed to avoid “bad public relations” might have contributed to the terror attack in San Bernardino, Calif., enabling one of the shooters to slip into the country with her extremist ties undiscovered.

Shooter Tashfeen Malik, 29, was open on her social media accounts about her ties to ISIS and her desire to engage in jihad. But when she applied for a K-1 (fiancée) visa to marry fellow shooter Syed Farook, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) didn’t look at her social media accounts.

According to an ABC News report, fear of “a civil liberties backlash” last year caused Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to continue prohibiting any review of social media accounts during visa applicant screenings. Malik slipped right through three federal background checks and two interviews, one by Pakistani officials and one by American.

The FBI now reports finding messages and statements on Facebook linking Malik to radical groups and promoting jihad, all under a pseudonym.

Malik's “hardline and conservative” father took her from Pakistan to Saudi Arabia when she was a toddler, Malik's uncle told Reuters. After that, her father cut ties with the family. Several years ago, Malik began studying to become a pharmacist in an area that former Pakistani ambassador Husain Haqqni calls a “recruitment ground” for Islamic groups like al-Qaeda.

Even if Malik wasn’t pegged as a potential terrorist, her husband Farook should have been, a former terror investigator claims. 

DHS whistleblower Philip Haney told Megyn Kelly on Fox News that if the investigative program he worked on had been allowed to continue, Farook would have been flagged because of his ties with the Dar Al Uloom As Islamiyah-Amer mosque in San Bernardino. The mosque falls under the Tablighi Jamaat organization, an “umbrella” for Islamic proselytization that serves to coach Islamic terrorists, according to Haney.

“We would have put the red light on them,” he said. “Either Syed would have been put on the no-fly list, because of his association with the mosque, and/or the K1 visa that his wife was given would have been denied because of his affiliation with a known organization.”

But the investigative program Haney worked on was canceled for targeting Islamic groups. He told Fox News that 67 of his records were deleted, including the one about the mosque in San Bernardino. Haney said when he alerted Congress and the DHS inspector general about the cancellation, his security clearance was revoked and his duties ended.

Haney’s claims fit a pattern of government hesitancy to highlight Islamic terror threats. Since 2012, the Obama administration has directed the FBI to whitewash training documents of any words deemed “offensive” to Muslims. The bureau now forbids instructors considered “anti-Islam” by the Muslim Brotherhood, according to a February 2012 report by the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT), an organization that researches Islamic terror groups.

Muslim organizations have had a near-constant presence among White House visitors since President Barack Obama took office in 2009, appealing to the president on a wide range off issues, according to IPT.

“The meetings have coincided with Homeland Security policy changes the White House guests and their front groups have clamored for, including purging language such as ‘radical Islam’ and ‘war on terror’ from the government’s official lexicon,” the report states.

Samantha Gobba

Samantha reports on the pro-life movement for WORLD Digital.

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