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FBI says San Bernardino shooter didn't openly post about jihad on social media

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

After reports suggested that San Bernardino shooter Tashfeen Malik posted support for jihad on social media before receiving a US visa, the Department of Homeland security is reportedly reviewing its practices, and presidential candidates are weighing in on the visa vetting process. But FBI Director James Comey is disputing that the posts were easily visible on social media.

FBI director called reporting "a garble"

Comey reportedly said that the two San Bernardino shooters communicated in "direct, private messages," and that the agency has "found no evidence of posting on social media by either of them at that period in time and thereafter reflecting their commitment to jihad or to martyrdom." He said reporting suggesting that they had posted publicly on social media was "a garble," according to The Washington Post.

It's unclear what medium Comey was referring to when he said "private messages," although other reporting this week has suggested Malik sent private Facebook messages about jihad to a small group of friends. Comey has previously said the couple had similar discussions as far back as late 2013. Other reports, citing a Facebook source, had suggested that Malik posted support for ISIS from an alias account as the shooting was unfolding.

Politicians have called for closer scrutiny of social media accounts in the visa application process following the reports. At last night's Republican presidential debate, Carly Fiorina told the audience, "For heaven's sakes, every parent in America is checking social media and every employer is as well, but our government can't do it."