The House Oversight Committee begged the Obama White House for years to look at the social media accounts of people applying for visas to come into the United States, but the federal government hesitated, Chairman Jason Chaffetz said Monday.
"We have begged them to look at federal employees' [social media]," the Utah Republican told Fox News' "Fox & Friends" program.
"This is social media and yet we've had a hesitancy as a federal government to even look at that material. But it's social. It's totally counter to privacy."
President Donald Trump has called for more vetting of people coming into the United States, but the Obama administration was not tough enough, said Chaffetz.
"The Obama administration for eight years was just saying, 'look, we have to be nicer,'" said Chaffetz, pointing out former President Barack Obama called the Islamic State the "JB Team" and said there was "nothing to worry about."
"The Obama administration was trying to give Libyans visas to come to the United States to study nuclear sciences and aviation," said Chaffetz. "We had to fight that back ... I think America gets it. That's why Donald Trump is the president of the United States."
Chaffetz said the major issue right now is with the judicial branch, as Trump does have both the constitutional and statutory authority to make sure people coming into the United States are properly vetted.
He does, however, believe there have not been more terrorism attacks in the United States than there have already been, as there is "a lot of good work that our intelligence community, Homeland Security, and others do and our local law enforcement."
The role of Congress, meanwhile, is to make sure the dots are being connected between the various agencies, Chaffetz said.
"What we found, for instance, in Boston is that the federal government have a lot of information that they didn't share with the local cops," said Chaffetz. "A lot of times, it's going to be Boston and New York and Philly and Los Angeles; it's going to be those law enforcement agencies that have the boots on the ground."
Meanwhile, Chaffetz said he's spoken with former FBI Director James Comey, and asked him to come testify before his committee. Instead, Comey will testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee, and Chaffetz said he thinks Comey is "taking the path of least resistance. I hope they pepper him with some very tough questions."
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