LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A Republican lawmaker in Washington, D.C., raised questions Tuesday about the issuance of Tashfeen Malik’s visa and said immigration officials failed to thoroughly check her application. Malik was one of two shooters in the San Bernardino terror attack.
Eight months before the second San Bernardino shooter, Syed Farook, brought his fiance, Malik, to the U.S., he applied for a finace visa for her.
In the document, dated Dec. 31st, 2013, Farook, an American citizen, wrote that he met Malik “through a matrimonial website.” He wrote that “after several weeks of emailing, we decided to meet each other” at the Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca, Saudi Arabia on Oct. 3, 2013. It was “on this day that we got engaged.” He signed the document on Jan. 20, 2014.
Immigration officials told CBS News they asked for and received proof visa stamps that both were at the Hajj.
But House Judiciary Committee Chair Bob Goodlatte, R-Virginia, said some serious mistakes were made in the process of issuing Malik’s visa.
In a statement, Goodlatte wrote: “It is clear that immigration officials did not thoroughly vet her application. In order to obtain a fiance visa, it is required to demonstrate proof that the U.S. citizen and foreign national have met in person. However, Malik’s immigration file does not show sufficient evidence for this requirement.”
“Visa security is critical to national security, and it’s unacceptable that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services did not fully vet Malik’s application and instead sloppily approved her visa,” according to the statement posted on Goodlatte’s website. “The House Judiciary Committee is working on a bill to strengthen visa processing security and protect national security.”
“What is worse, the immigration official reviewing Malik’s application requested more evidence to ensure the two met in person, but it was never provided and her visa was approved anyway,” Goodlatte wrote.
“Even if Farook and Malik were in Saudi Arabia at the same time, this does not provide evidence that they met in person,” Goodlatte wrote.
Among the evidence the couple submitted for the visa application were copies of pages from their passports, showing visas to enter Saudi Arabia and stamps in Arabic.
“Additionally, Malik’s Saudi Arabian visa was good for only 60 days, so this would cast doubt on the claim that the two were in Saudi Arabia at the same time. And even if Farook and Malik met in Saudi Arabia, there is insufficient evidence in the file for USCIS to have made that determination,” Goodlatte wrote.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services wrote in a statement: “Tashfeen Malik was subjected to numerous background checks…and those…did not reveal any derogatory information about Malik.”
What they did not know about, and was later discovered by the FBI, were Malik’s direct private messages about jihad and evidence that she and Farook had been showing signs of radicalization long before the couple was engaged.
These new developments came on a day when FBI Director James Comey met in San Bernardino with FBI agents and local law enforcement officers who responded to the San Bernardino terror attack and ultimately killed the two terrorists in a shootout.
The couple massacred 14 people and wounded 22 others during a holiday party at the Inland Regional Center on Dec. 2.