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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Vern Buchanan wants government to screen social media of foreigners



U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan is pushing a bill that would require Homeland Security to screen Facebook, Twitter and other social media before allowing the entry of foreign travelers and visa applicants.

Buchanan’s office highlighted Thursday that the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, Rep. Michael McCaul, expressed support for the idea.

“A simple check of social media accounts of foreign travelers and visa applicants will help ensure that those who have participated in, pledged allegiance to, or communicated with terrorist organizations cannot enter the United States,” McCaul said in a statement. “I know this will be a useful tool for the Department of Homeland Security and will aid in securing our homeland."

Questions about social media arose after the San Bernardino shootings, and Republican presidential candidates criticized the government. FBI Director James Comey countered that the couple that carried out the attacks had not made open posts about radical Islamic jihad.

The Los Angeles Times had reported that the couple sent private messages on Facebook to friends pledging support for jihad.

[Last modified: Friday, February 12, 2016 1:51pm]


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