Memo Shows Obama Admin Rejected DHS Screening of Social Media in 2011 [Video]
Top officials at the Department of Homeland Security considered a specific policy to strengthen security screenings for foreign visa applicants’ social media accounts, but the proposal was ultimately rejected, according to an internal department memo obtained by MSNBC.
While the U.S. visa screening process does not include formal vetting of social media accounts, the memo proposed the Obama administration “authorize” customs officials to “access social networking sites” to vet applicants. Such vetting could help catch applicants bent on fraud, crime or “national security” risks, the memo stated.
The federal government considered that policy, according to a former senior official in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), but officials rejected it in 2011.
The memo went through roughly a year of revisions with agency lawyers, privacy officers and senior staff, the official added, and was about it to be published as policy – but was then halted by senior officials.
“It’s unusual to go through the circulation process and revisions,” the official said, and then have a policy “not happen.”