Trump considering screening visitors by their Facebook pages & phone records


There are reports that the Trump Administration is considering what it is calling "extreme vetting", which would seem to consist of asking potential visitors for their phones to see who they've been calling and access to their social media accounts.

President Trump’s administration is reviewing ways to enact the “extreme vetting” practices he often mentioned during his campaign, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Administration officials told the newspaper they are evaluating whether to require foreign nationals who visit the U.S. to divulge cellphone contacts and passwords for social media.

This is ridiculous to the extreme. Once word gets out about this, terrorists are not going to bring their cell phones to the airport. They'll bring a new phone that has a record of only a few harmless calls on it. They will make up social media accounts that are similarly benign.

The fact is, there is no way to do "extreme vetting".

If someone is suspected of plotting a terrorist attack in America, the authorities can investigate. They can look at phone records. They can look at internet activity. They can follow and surveil, and they can interview acquaintances.

But our government doesn't have the ability to do this with people in other countries. That's why if they are not already on some terrorist watchlist, we can have no idea if someone coming into the country is a terrorist or not. That's why we rely so heavily on the home country for information. If someone is coming from France, we can contact the French government and find out if this person has a suspicious background. The same with Canada or Germany or many other countries.

The problem is with countries which are state sponsors of terrorism, like Iran, or countries which have no government, like Somalia or Syria. There is no way people from these countries can be vetted.

Conservatives laughed at Obama when he insisted that refugees from these countries were vigorously vetted. Trump's idea of "extreme vetting" by checking Facebook pages is similarly preposterous.

The only way to be safe is not to let people in from such countries. It is a pity that President Trump has already gone back on his promise not to let any more Syrian refugees into the country. During the campaign he promised to send the ones here back to Syria.

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump says if he takes the White House, he will send back Syrian refugees coming to the U.S.

“I’m putting the people on notice that are coming here from Syria as part of this mass migration,” he told an audience in Keene, N.H.

“If I win, they’re going back. They’re going back. I’m telling you. They’re going back.”

He won, but they aren't going back. I'm telling you. In fact, President Trump has been letting even more in.

In March alone he let in 282 from Syria. No court or judged forced Trump to admit these refugees; the decision to award refugee status is one made only by the executive branch. President Trump also let in 335 from Somalia, another lawless land full of Islamic extremists., as well as 192 from Iraq and 101 from Iran.

Perhaps the Trump Administration checked the Facebook pages of those Syrians and Somalis and concluded they weren't a threat. A better solution would be not to let them in at all.

[originally in AT]



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