State Department spokesman John Kirby admitted Monday that "things went wrong" in the visa process that allowed Tashfeen Malik into the United States, but could not say "exactly" what mistakes were made.
When asked whether the State Department felt "generally" that they "missed something with […] Tashfeen Malik," Kirby hesitated to respond.
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"It's difficult to say until the investigation is complete, Justin, but–but clearly, something, you know, well, I don't even–I just don't want to get ahead of an investigation that's not complete," he said.
Kirby then said that the shooting was a "tragic result" that "nobody ever wants to see" happen again. He underscored the importance of the State Department’s review of the visa process for assuring that a similar tragedy does not occur.
"Nobody wants to see it happen again, I can tell you, which is why we're gonna take this review so seriously, and why we're cooperating very vigorously with the FBI as they investigate this," he said.
He eventually admitted that something went wrong in the visa process, but could not say exactly what lessons should be learned.
"I just–you know, obviously things went wrong," he said. "It's difficult to say exactly what and how, but, for an individual to be able to come into this country–one who the FBI has maintained had terrorist tendencies, or affiliations, or sympathies, at least for a couple of years, and then to propagate an attack like that on our own soil, obviously, I think it's safe to say there's going to be lessons learned here."
He also could not say who needed to learn from the mistakes that were made.
"By whom and for whom, I just don't know right now. We're just going to have to let it play out," he said.
Tashfeen Malik was admitted to the United States on a K-1 fiancée visa after three background checks, despite having posted on social media that she supported violent jihad. Malik and her husband carried out an attack in San Bernardino that resulted in the death of 14.