San Bernardino shooter was a Pakistani who became known as a ‘Saudi girl’

23 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Lawmakers want details on vetting, including social media checks, for those bound for US.

WASHINGTON — The investigation of the mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, was just hours old when lawmakers, law enforcement and the public started asking the same question: How did U.S. authorities miss the signs that a Pakistani woman asking for a visa because she was engaged to an American had been radicalized?Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, who opened fire on a San Bernardino holiday party earlier this month, were buried Tuesday in a quiet, graveside funeral guarded by FBI agents. Tashfeen Malik came to the U.S. on a K-1 fiance visa in July 2014 and passed multiple background checks and at least two in-person interviews, one in Pakistan and another after she married Syed Farook.

Nonetheless, as the shooting attack that killed 14 people unfolded a pledge of allegiance for Malik and Farook to the leader of the Islamic State group was posted on a Facebook page she maintained. Members of the House Oversight Committee are set to press administration officials Thursday morning on what safeguards are in place to ensure that would-be extremists are not exploiting a variety of legal paths to travel to the United States. 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. The funeral attendee and another person familiar with the situation, both of whom asked not to be identified for fear of retaliation, said it took a week to find a graveyard willing to accept the bodies.

In remarks prepared for delivery Thursday, committee chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, said: “It is unclear how someone who so openly discussed her hatred of our country and way of life could easily pass three background checks. They said the husband and wife were ultimately buried in a cemetery far from San Bernardino, after a closer facility refused to take the bodies because of fears the graves would be desecrated.

Both DHS and the State Department also are reviewing the process for vetting visa applications, including the K-1 program, and have been directed by the White House to create specific recommendations for improvements. Muslims are usually buried within 24 hours of dying, but family members and community members had to wait for the bodies to be released by law enforcement officials and then for permission from a cemetery.

The family of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of the two men accused of carrying out the Boston Marathon bombing attack in 2013, faced similar difficulty finding a place to bury his body after the attack. But most Muslims in the community refused to participate in the burial or perform the funeral prayer, called Salat Al-Janazah, according to the source who did not attend the funeral. “I don’t forgive him myself,” said the mosque-goer who did not attend the funeral.

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