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State Department spokesperson Elizabeth Trudeau said Friday that the State Department stands behind the visa process that allowed a terrorist into the United States.
“Are you satisfied that Malik’s application process followed the proper protocol?” one reporter asked Trudeau, referring to San Bernardino shooter Tashfeen Malik, who had previously pledged allegiance to the Islamic State on Facebook.
“Yes,” she said.
“How can you say that with such assurance?” the reporter asked.
Trudeau said that she is confident that this case followed protocol because the State Department is confident in its visa process.
“Because we stand behind our screening process for visas,” she said.
She attributed part of her confidence in the visa process to the fact that the process is consistently being improved and revised.
“We continue to revise, we continue to look at this. But these are process that happens around the world, every day, in our U.S. embassies. And while we won’t get ahead of this investigation, […] the process that visa applicants go through continues to be improved,” she said. “It was improved after 9/11, something that we look at every day. But at this stage, you know, we stand behind those processes.”
When asked whether she could “say with absolute confidence that no one dropped the ball in this case,” Trudeau said that she has “no information that indicates that.”
She later added that Americans can have confidence in the visa processing system.
Malik came to the United States on a K-1 ‘fiancée visa’ with her soon-to-be husband, U.S. citizen Syed Farook. CNN reports that Malik became a “lawful permanent resident” soon after arriving in America. Malik and Farook both perpetrated a mass shooting in San Bernardino that left 14 dead and 21 wounded.
Correction, 4:30 PM: An earlier version of this article stated that Malik became a citizen of the United States. She actually became a lawful permanent resident.