How San Bernardino Shooter Made it Through Social Media Screening

Tashfeen Malik was vocal online about being a radical jihadist and still made it through the visa process.
2:29 | 12/15/15

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Transcript for How San Bernardino Shooter Made it Through Social Media Screening
There are major new developments in the investigation into the terror in California. The wife turned killer, and what she had done before she came to the U.S. And this question -- how did authorities miss it? It comes just as president Obama today met with his national security team at the Pentagon. The president saying, Isis leaders, quote, cannot hide, and our message to them is simple. You are next. But as the president was meeting, Brian Ross and his team following the trail of that young woman who came here at a bride and then killed. It turns out, authorities say, what she sent on social media long before should have set off red flags. But it was all missed. ABC's chief investigative correspondent Brian Ross, back on the case tonight. Reporter: When tashfeen malik came to the United States for the first time last year, she had already sent extensive messages online that she wanted to rage violent jihad. But none of that was known to the officials handling her fiance Visa. During that time period, immigration officials were not allowed to use or view social media as a part of the screening process. Reporter: Former homeland security official John Cohen, now an ABC news consultant, says there was a secret policy that prevented officials from screening the social media posts of Visa applicants, fearing bad public relations for the Obama administration. The primary concern was that it would be viewed negatively if it was disclosed publicly, and there were concerns it would be embarrassing. Reporter: Malik, who had become radicalized after college, had three interviews, showed pictures of an engagement party in Saudi Arabia, and Hervey is a was approved in three weeks, a process the state department admitted today failed. You know, obviously things went wrong. Reporter: Now, in the wake of the worst terror attack since 9/11, federal agents are reconstructing the online history of malik and her husband, Syed farook. A history that shows even before they met, they were on the road to jihad, something authorities could have known, but did not, as she was welcomed to America. And Brian Ross back with us tonight. You've learned the white house now ordering a top to bottom review? Reporter: That's right, David. And the review will include that policy that was secret until today, preventing officials from examining the social media posts of Visa applicants. Some 41,000 people came into this country last year on so-called fiance Visas. Brian, thank you. Meantime, an isis-related arrest here at home tonight.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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