The Department of Homeland Security considered a specific policy to beef up security screenings for foreign visa applicants' social media accounts, but the idea was rejected, according to an internal department memo obtained by MSNBC.
While the U.S. visa screening process does not include formal vetting of social media accounts, the memo proposed the Obama administration "authorize" customs officials to "access social networking sites" to help catch applicants bent on fraud, crime or "national security" risks.
The federal government considered that policy, according to a former senior official in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), but officials rejected it in 2011.
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DHS did not dispute the internal memo when asked about it, but emphasized more recent efforts to vet social media accounts.