DHS Secretary: ‘Extreme Vetting’ Could Include Phone Records, Internet History

REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Alex Pfeiffer White House Correspondent
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Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly said Tuesday that the U.S. might analyze the phone records, internet history and social media of individuals seeking to get visas to the U.S. in order to fulfill President Trump’s goal of “extreme vetting.”

“We’re looking at various options, right now,” Secretary Kelly, a retired Marine Corps General, said at a press conference.

He said that the seven countries temporarily banned from entering the U.S. don’t have “the kind of law enforcement, records keeping” that would convince immigration officials that one of their citizens is indeed who that citizen says he is.

President Trump’s executive order on Friday calls on DHS to immediately conduct a review to determine which information is needed from nations to figure out whether a potential immigrant is who he says he is, and is not a security threat.

The secretary of state will subsequently ask these countries to provide this information, and if they don’t, their citizens might be prohibited from traveling to the U.S.

Secretary Kelly went on to say that “extreme vetting” might be “certainly an accounting of what websites [potential immigrants] visit. It might be telephone contact information so that we can see who they’re talking to, but again, all of this is under development.”

He said that those things, in addition to social media history, “are the kind of things we’re looking at.” Kelly added the U.S. has to know who is coming to the country and what their backgrounds are.