Official says social media often has little value in screening refugees



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WASHINGTON (AP) — A Homeland Security official says social media doesn't always have much value in screening refugees for entry into the United States.

Leon Rodriguez told a House panel today that U.S. authorities have checked social media in some capacity in refugee cases. And he says they've found, in a small sampling so far, that the information can be ambiguous -- and often, it can inaccessible to those trying to review it.

Rodriguez heads U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. He told lawmakers that those checks aren't being done in an abundant manner. He wasn't specific about when or how they occur.

Lawmakers are trying to find out which safeguards are in place to make sure extremists aren't exploiting a variety of legal paths to travel to the United States. At issue is how closely the U.S. government examines the backgrounds of people asking to come to the country, including reviewing their social media postings.

One of the San Bernardino shooters came to the U.S. on a K-1 fiance visa last year. The FBI believes she was already radicalized.

%@AP Links

154-a-08-(Leon Rodriguez, director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security, at House hearing on immigration screening of potential terrorists)-"not happen again (second reference)"-The Department of Homeland Security's Leon Rodriguez says lessons need to be drawn from the mass shooting in San Bernardino about how to detect potential terrorists who may try to use legal means to enter the country. (17 Dec 2015)

<<CUT *154 (12/17/15)££ 00:08 "not happen again (second reference)"

155-a-08-(Rep. Scott Desjarlais (day-jar-LAY'), R-Tenn., with Alan Bersin, assistant secretary for international affairs, Department of Homeland Security, at House hearing on immigration screening of potential terrorists)-"do much better"-Congressman Scott Desjarlais asks Alan Bersin of the Department of Homeland Security about known terrorists who have legally entered the United States. (17 Dec 2015)

<<CUT *155 (12/17/15)££ 00:08 "do much better"

APPHOTO DCSA108: Leon Rodriguez, director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services at the Homeland Security Department, right, joined by Alan Bersin, assistant secretary for international affairs at the Homeland Security Department, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 17, 2015, before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee as the panel presses Obama Administration officials on what safeguards are in place to ensure that would-be extremists are not exploiting a variety of legal paths to travel to the U.S. At issue is how closely the U.S. government examines the background of people asking to come to the country, including reviews of their social media postings. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) (17 Dec 2015)

<<APPHOTO DCSA108 (12/17/15)££

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