WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House of Representatives yesterday passed theCombat Terrorist Use of Social Media Act of 2015, ordering the Obama Administration to produce a full report of terrorist organizations’ social media tactics and a strategy to combat them within 90 days.
Rep. Frank Guinta (NH01) voted for the bill a day after the State Departmentadmitted to ABC News that “something went wrong” with its vetting of Tashfeen Malik, an ISIS adherent who passed a background check, before killing 14 Americans in San Bernardino this month – despite the Pakistani national’s calls to Islamic jihad online.
“It’s shocking that unofficial federal policy prohibits immigration agentsfrom checking a visa applicant’s social media statements,” said the Congressman.“Public information would be an obvious place to look for warning signs.”
“This kind of malpractice casts serious doubt on the Administration’s ability to screen thousands of refugees,” said Rep. Guinta, who voted for theAmerican SAFE Act last month to halt a Syrian refugee program, until proper safeguards are in place, and theTerrorist Travel Prevention Act, more recently, to tighten loose border agreements with visa waiver partners, mostly European countries, where as many as 5,000 citizens could have ISIS links.
“I’m even more convinced we need to slow down and take a hard look at our government’s resources and capabilities,”he said. “A committed and sophisticated enemy is searching for any possible weakness to penetrate our defenses, while political correctness seems to be eroding them.”
ABC News reports that Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson refused to end an informal prohibition, even as federal officers warned that terrorists could be slipping through lax social media screening. Today’s legislation requires the Administration to evaluate online radicalization, recruitment, results, and to present a counter-strategy.