On Monday’s “The Kelly File” on the Fox News Channel, host Megyn Kelly criticized the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials for prohibiting the review of online postings, including social media, during the vetting foreign nationals seeking a U.S. visa over concerns of potential bad public relations.
DHS has been under fire over the last week for putting political correctness ahead of security concerns, which came to light in recent media appearances with whistleblower Philip Haney.
Kelly questioned the priorities of DHS in a segment with author Brad Thor and suggested the U.S. government require social media outlets like Facebook to make to make accounts of individuals seeking to come to the United States public.
Transcript as follows:
MEGYN KELLY, HOST “THE KELLY FILE”: Joining me now with more, Brad Thor, a former member of the Homeland Security Department’s Analytic Red Cell Unit. And also bestselling author of the book “Code of Conduct.” Brad, thank you for being here. So they have the ability to do it. They choose not to because they don’t want to offend anybody.
BRAD THOR, FORMER MEMBER, HOMELAND SECURITY DEPARTMENT, ANALYTIC RED CELL UNIT: You know, there’s no constitutional right to a visa, and there are no civil liberty issues with this. When you post on social media, it’s public, even if you do throw up these privacy walls like this person was doing. I mean, Megyn, it is easier for a terrorist to get a visa than for a group with Tea Party or patriot in their name to get a 501-3-C classification from the IRS. This is ridiculous.
KELLY: They’re worried, they say about two things, three things, bad PR. Civil rights organizations, and civil liberties organizations, giving them pushback. The question is, are they worried about Americans who are going to get killed by radical extremists who want to murder us?
THOR: Bingo. That’s the issue here. We have a president, not a publicist, and he needs to act like one. And as far as civil liberty groups or civil rights groups, they can all jump right in a lake because they do not have any leg to stand on here. If you are a foreign national applying for a visa to come to this country, you are not afforded the protections of civil liberties and civil rights protections that American citizens are —
KELLY: You’re asking for a privilege. You’re asking for a special privilege.
THOR: You don’t get it. And by the way, this is a great tool. And I understand that Catherine is kind of moving the story forward with this issue about, well, it wasn’t a written policy. Yet they were fighting about it internally at the Department of Homeland Security. This is shocking. It is shocking that you would not go to social media, particularly when DHS has been rabid since 2011 about looking for any anti- government talk on social media by Americans. This is a big issue, 2009.
KELLY: A good point.
THOR: When Janet Napolitano headed the DHS, she put out a white paper saying that we had to watch out for veterans, people would — flags in the back of their car, pro-lifers, pro-gun people as being potential right wing extremists and terrorists.
KELLY: Uh-hm. You think they’re looking at their social media?
THOR: All the time. When the Obama administration wants to look for stuff, they find it, they even spin it. So this is a bunch of malarkey. And why is he so much more concerned over people applying for visas than protecting American citizens?
KELLY: Okay. But here’s what they — their other defense is the numbers are too big. Last year we had 10 million come into the country on visas, some 40,000 of those who are on this K-1 marriage visas. So they don’t have the time, they don’t have the manpower, they don’t have the money to have somebody sitting there doing the Facebook search, private, how do I get around that and so on?
THOR: You’ve got two choices. Number one, if you’re dealing with people in a specific age group, let’s say, 18 to 34, they all have social media accounts. Part of getting your visa should be opening up those accounts, turning over your passwords. Employers ask people for this a lot. And we’ve got over a 30 employers in this country that look at social media.
THOR: And the other thing is, if we have that many people applying for visas that we can’t check them, whoa, let’s dial it down and let’s not process so many darn visas. This is what Trump was talking about. Let’s put a pause until we can work out these problems. Because protecting Americans is more important than giving visas to foreign nationals.
KELLY: You know what else you can do, you could strike a deal. You can get Facebook to change its policies such that when you sign up for Facebook account, you check a box saying, if I decide to immigrate into the United States, I agree to make all of my private profiles public and then subject to review. And then the government doesn’t have to do anything. You apply, you’ve already agreed to make it public. They can take a look at it. It’s done. It’s easy. And if you don’t check the box, you’ve got a problem.
THOR: There’s just one problem with that idea, Megyn, it makes too much sense. You’ll never get it passed this administration.
KELLY: Brad, thank you.
THOR: You’re welcome.
Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor