Fmr. Official: Secret U.S. Policy Blocks Agents from Looking at Social Media of Visa Applicants

‘During that time period immigration officials were not allowed to use or review social media as part of the screening process’

Secret US Policy Blocks Agents From Looking at Social Media of Visa Applicants, Former Official Says (ABC News)

Fearing a civil liberties backlash and "bad public relations" for the Obama administration, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson refused in early 2014 to end a secret U.S. policy that prohibited immigration officials from reviewing the social media messages of all foreign citizens applying for U.S. visas, a former senior department official said.

"During that time period immigration officials were not allowed to use or review social media as part of the screening process," John Cohen, a former acting under-secretary at DHS for intelligence and analysis. Cohen is now a national security consultant for ABC News.

One current and one former senior counter-terrorism official confirmed Cohen's account about the refusal of DHS to change its policy about the public social media posts of all foreign applicants.

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