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San Bernardino Shooter Cited Pregnancy, Engagement In Approved Visa Application

| by Nik Bonopartis
Syed Farook and Tafsheen Malik.Syed Farook and Tafsheen Malik.

San Bernardino shooter Tashfeen Malik told visa officials she was pregnant, which may have influenced their decision to grant the Pakistani-born terrorist legal U.S. residence, according to records released by a congressional official.

Malik and her husband, Syed Farook, went on a rampage on Dec. 2 in San Bernardino, California, killing 14 state employees who were attending a holiday party. The victims were Farook's co-workers -- they had thrown a baby shower for the expectant couple months before the shooting, according to media reports.

The details of Malik's visa application were leaked to the media on Dec. 29 by a congressional official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the leaker was not authorized to release the information, the Daily Mail reported.

In the six-page application for permanent residence in the U.S., known as a Form I-485, Malik included photos of her and her husband, wrote that she was expecting a baby, and provided documents proving her husband was a U.S. citizen employed as a health inspector for San Bernardino County, according to the Daily Mail.

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Malik wrote "no" on a section of the application that asked whether she had ever joined an insurgent organization, had communist sympathies or had ever participated in torture.

In a letter to immigration officials, Farook wrote that he met Malik on a dating website, and met up in person in Saudi Arabia while Farook was on pilgrimage to Mecca and Malik was visiting her parents, who live in the wealthy monarchy. Farook told officials he and Malik were engaged in October 2013.

"My fiance and I intend to marry within the first month of her arriving in the U.S.," Farook wrote before closing the letter by thanking officials.

Malik was issued a K-1 visa which allowed her to enter the U.S. as Farook's fiance, the Daily Mail reported.

While a state department spokesman told The Washington Post that “all required procedures were followed in the K-1 visa case for Ms. Malik," the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee said the application was "sloppily approved."

Republican Rep. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia said the application did not prove that Farook and Malik had met in person before Malik came to the U.S., a requirement for couples applying for a K-1 visa, The Washington Post reported. Goodlatte called the visa review "unacceptable," and said he will introduce new legislation to make the visa review policy more rigorous.

Goodlatte was especially incensed by the fact that State Department officials allegedly did not review "open source" information about Malik, which would have included simple online searches to review her social media accounts and posting history. Officials have said Malik posted messages sympathetic to Islamic extremism, albeit in private online conversations.

“As more details have been learned about the two terrorists responsible for the horrific attack in San Bernardino, it is becoming more apparent that more could have been done to vet Tashfeen Malik," Goodlatte wrote in a Dec. 14 statement. "She reportedly posted her radical views on social media prior to obtaining a visa, yet it seems that the Obama Administration’s policies may have prevented officials from reviewing her account."

Sources: The Washington Post, U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, Daily Mail / Photo credit: NBC News