It has been reported that Tashfeen Malik, who was involved in killing 14 people in Southern California with her husband, had already cleared and passed through three background checks by American officials prior to moving to the United States from Pakistan. According to these checks, there was no evidence that proved or clearly identified any of her social media posts with regard to Jihad.
“None uncovered what Tashfeen had made little effort to hide that she talked openly on social media about her views on violence. She said that she supported it. And she said she wanted to be a part of it,” The New York Times reported.
American law enforcement officials claimed that they recently found those old and previously “unreported” postings as they gathered together the lives of Tashfeen and her husband, Syed Rizwan Farook, trying to understand and analyze how they carried out the deadliest attack on American soil since September 11, 2001.
“Had the authorities found the posts years ago, they might have kept her out of the U.S. But immigration officials do not routinely review social media as part of their background checks, and there is a debate inside the Department of Homeland Security over whether it is even appropriate to do so,” the paper reported.
The discovery of social media posts has uncovered a significantly crucial and perhaps an unavoidable shortcoming in how foreigners are screened when they enter the U.S., especially as people everywhere communicate regularly about themselves online.
Tashfeen had gone through three extensive national security and criminal background screenings. First, Homeland Security officials checked her name against American law enforcement and national security databases. Second, her visa application went to the State Department, which checked her fingerprints against other databases. After coming to the U.S. and formally marrying Farook, she applied for her green card and received another round of criminal and security checks.
Federal officials also stated that Tashfeen had two in-person interviews, the first by a consular officer in Pakistan, and the second by an immigration officer in the U.S. when she applied for her green card. All those reviews came back clear, and the FBI has said it had no incriminating information about her or her husband in its databases.
Investigators are on the lookout for devices, including a computer hard drive that appeared to be missing from their home, and cell phones they might have abandoned. Investigators are particularly interested in Tashfeen’s life in Pakistan in the years before she moved to the U.S. They believe that was when she was radicalized.
From 2007 to 2012, she lived in a university hostel, and then with her mother and sister at a family home in Multan. “No one knows her more than me. She had no contact with any militant outfit or person, male or female,” her sister, Fehda Malik said. She also said that her sister was religious, studied the holy book, and prayed five times a day. “She knew what was right and what was wrong,” Fehda said.