Tashfeen Malik's Immigraton Application Released

The House Judiciary Committee has released Tashfeen Malik's immigration application saying her visa vetting was insufficient. The 21 page document is available here.

I don't really see the reason for the Committee's criticism of her visa vetting (other than the obvious that after the fact we know she was a terrorist.) Her story on the application is fairly consistent with what Syed's now estranged parents claim. [More...]

I wrote a really long post on this a few weeks ago, but it went down the rabbit hole when I accidently closed the browser window before saving it. I haven't had the energy to re-write the whole thing (it took hours), but here's what I remember (I'll fill in links when I have time to find them on my computer. I'm publishing first this time so I don't lose the whole thing again.)

It was Syed's parents (as opposed to Syed) who published his profiles on dating/matrimonial sites. They wanted him to find a wife and settle down. They went to Saudi Arabia for the Hajj pilgrimage with Syed in October, 2013. Malik apparently had family who lived near the pilgrimage site and Malik's father met Syed's parents there. They talked about their children getting married.

The Farooks returned to the U.S. Syed applied for a fiance visa for her. The next year, around July, he went to Saudi Arabia to bring her back to the U.S. They took out a marriage application in Riverside County in August, 2014. They got married in San Bernadino in a religious ceremony. They had a child together.

Her family does come from the Karor Lal Esan in Southern Pakistan. But she left there when she was a toddler, to move to Saudi Arabia with her parents and siblings. She and one sister both went back to Pakistan to go to pharmacy school in Multan. Tafsheen attended pharmacy school (it's a five year program) from 2007 to 2012, when she graduated. She then went to a more religious school for a while but dropped out saying she was getting engaged (which she did.)

No one knows where or when she got radicalized. Her relatives in Pakistan are trying to distance themselves from her and her father. Saudi Arabia is claiming she barely spent any time there (which doesn't seem possible.) It seems she grew up in Saudi Arabia from about the age of 2 until 2007 when she returned to Pakistan to attend pharmacy school. The religious school she attended is conservative, but not a terror front. I think it's more likely she was recruited by Pakistani intelligence than a school. I wouldn't be surprised if Pakistani intelligence encouraged her to attend the school, all in a plan to find an American husband. A spy thing, if not a direct terror thing.

It seems like it shouldn't be too hard to find her grade school records from Saudi Arabia which would put an end to the discussion about where she grew up.

She has two brothers and two sisters. One sister is a doctor. The other went to the same pharmacy school as Tashfeen. The brother works in Saudi Arabia. He says their mother is very ill. The father, Gulzar Malik, lives in Saudi Arabia but has a house in Multan. He worked for a while as a postman in Taunsa which is in the Dera Ghazi Khan District in the Punjab province of Pakistan, before moving to Karorr Lal Essan. He has a brothers and a cousin in Punjab. The cousin, Malik Ahmad Ali Auolakh, was a political official until 2013. The brother may be named Anwar Ahmed and may not have seen each other in 30 years. Most of the negative information about her father is coming from his stepsister who appears to begrudge him he didn't return to Pakistan when their mother died.

Tashfeen lived in a university hostel the first two or three years of pharmacy school. She then moved to a house for her last two years (probably the one owned by her father, and although he may have visited, it appears he still resided in Saudi Arabia.) She returned to Saudi Arabia at least twice during pharmacy school and after, presumably to visit her family.

So it seems the dour-looking couple met when she responded to the application his parents posted on the web. They decided to have the families meet, and the Syeds went to Saudi Arabia for the pilgrimage, when they met her father. It seems logical since Syed went on the trip as well, that he met Tafsheen in person on that trip.

None of this justifies Syed's and Malik's terrorist killings. But I'm not seeing proof she was improperly vetted. As I said, I'll return later to fill in links. I remember the news reports were very inconsistent, and after reading many more of them than I intended to, I went with the ones that came from the most official sources ( e.g. a press conference held by pharmacy university officials in Multan who had rechecked her records) rather than the gossipy accounts by relatives in Pakistan who either had never met her or hadn't seen her in 20 years, or the Saudi Foreign Ministry, which claimed she never spent much time there and only visited a few times.

One thing I'm still puzzled by is her death photo where she's wearing shorts. I assume the cops stripped off her black terror garb and go pro camera before taking her out of the car she was killed in, but given her other photos, those shorts seem like an odd choice of clothing for her. Since Syed's former neighbor who bought at least two of the guns used in San Bernadino shootings gave daily interviews to the feds while at the mental health center or after his arrest, I'm sure we'll learn more about the role she played soon. But I think it's too early put blame on the visa process. And my eye is still on Pakistani Intelligence, and by extension, al Qaida in Pakistan, not ISIS.

As to the official photo above, I wonder which one it is. Unlike most of the published photos we've seen of her, in this one her nose and mouth are covered.

Update: Why I hate writing about this woman so much: Her name is the most dyslexic I've ever seen. I've typed it at least 100 times and I apparently have some mental block against it. I always have to go back to a source material to see if its Tashfeen or Tafsheen. I've never had that problem with any other name, and it slows down the writing process so much I just hate writing about her.

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  • Display: Sort:
    The proof is in the pudding (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Dec 23, 2015 at 10:06:42 AM EST
    "None of this justifies Syed's and Malik's terrorist killings. But I'm not seeing proof she was improperly vetted."

    So what suggestions to you have to (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by ruffian on Thu Dec 24, 2015 at 07:50:59 AM EST
    improve the vetting proces, beyond giving the vetters your perfect hindsight?

    well . . . (1.00 / 1) (#8)
    by zaitztheunconvicted on Thu Dec 24, 2015 at 10:47:06 AM EST
    If a state department person was interviewing the daughter or niece or nephew of an employee of bin Laden, what questions might come up?

    Now, I don't work for the state department and so I don't know what their interview questions are . . .

    Do they happen to ask things such as

    Are you a Salafi Muslim?  I see here that your dad is and that he has built and supported a Salafi mosque in Saudi Arabia.  

    What do you think of the Salafis?  Are you Salafi?  Do you hold their views or do you renounce their views?  Is your future husband a Salafi?  Does your future husband attend or support a Salafi mosque or one affiliated with the Muslim brotherhood or front groups of the brotherhood?

    I would hate to be difficult on a matter of Religious Freedom, but we don't admit communists to the USA as immigrants or refugees and there is a reason why and we also don't admit anarchists .  . . and there is a reason why . . .


    your last comment was delelted for (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Dec 24, 2015 at 12:57:48 PM EST
    promoting false and bigoted assumptions against Muslims. Other comments of yours has been as well. You may not use this site to promote bigotry, especially based on false statements. Please comment on this topic at another site and don't spread your falsehoods here.

    Were Malik's cousins known "extremists"? (1.00 / 1) (#11)
    by zaitztheunconvicted on Fri Dec 25, 2015 at 09:39:28 AM EST
    If you google Tashfeen and a random unknown Islamic sect whose name we cannot repeat, one article that comes up is at the LA times, a source that is obviously another part of the vast right-wing conspiracy.

    Anyway, according to one or more interviews in the article, cousins and/or relatives of Tashfeen are known Pakistani militants.

    Of course, I am not sure which of this article is false and/or bigoted--I wasn't there in Pakistan doing the interviews--but here are the paragraphs of note:

    Intelligence agents have questioned members of Malik's extended family in the province of Punjab, an area that is considered one of the nurseries of Islamist militant organizations, according to Pakistani intelligence agents. . . .

    "The family has some extremist credentials, and some members of Malik's family in Karor are also involved in sectarian activities," Zahid Gishkori, 32, a resident of the Layyah district in the area who knows the family well, said in an interview.

    Now, I don't work for the state department . . . I certainly don't know their interview procedures .  . . .  I have just no idea [Nope, none at all!!  Of course!] as to whether or not state department visa employees would be more thorough or less thorough than I would be in an interview process . . .

    but it appears Tashfeen Malik has cousins and/or uncles who are alleged to be known militants or maybe not militants but they just have "extremist credentials."  I can't imagine what that means.  These phrases are beyond my limited vocabulary!

    I did study Arabic in college . . . and I have taken the following religion classes: World Religions, Judaism and Islam, Asian Humanities at an accredited university . . .

    but as for me to speculate what are "extremist credentials" . . . far be it from me . . .

    Salam Alaikum!


    Goodbye Zaif (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Dec 25, 2015 at 02:37:25 PM EST
    I've warned you repeatedly not to spread gossip, false and unsubstantiated claims. Google is your friend, as are the Saudi, Pakistani, and Indian media -- whose accounts, although largely inconsistent, have some common facts. I've updated with links.

    There is no sect whose name cannot be repeated here. Don't make things up. What you can't do is posit an unsubstantiated claim someone has close ties to or is a member of an extremist or terrorist group. That this family came from or lived in the same region that was the birthplace of other terrorists does not make them terrorists.  

    What you also cannot do is claim (as you have in prior comments, now erased) that American Muslims don't share American values and you may not smear people with the "terrorist" label based upon the unsubstantiated gossip.

    I suggest you comment on other topics or refrain from commenting at all. You clearly either don't understand the commenting rules, no matter how many times they are explained to you, or you are playing games. I don't have time for either, or the desire to wade through your comments to see if they comply with the rules.


    Clearly, just trolling now (none / 0) (#12)
    by shoephone on Fri Dec 25, 2015 at 12:50:54 PM EST
    the la times article from which (none / 0) (#14)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Dec 25, 2015 at 02:50:25 PM EST
    you got the information appears to be this one. I linked to it. There are many other quotes you didn't mention in it that give the opposite impression.

    As St. Bill Clinton might have said... (none / 0) (#4)
    by Mr Natural on Wed Dec 23, 2015 at 05:54:19 PM EST
    That all depends on where your definition of fail, fails.

    And the families and friends of the murdered (none / 0) (#5)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Dec 23, 2015 at 09:30:15 PM EST
    in SB might say.

    Ask the dead.


    Could you have done better? (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by Mr Natural on Thu Dec 24, 2015 at 11:42:33 AM EST
    Yes (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by NycNate on Sun Dec 27, 2015 at 07:47:56 AM EST
    I could have done a better job of vetting her. Based on my resdings, i hear parts of her application were incomplete. If that is true, then a better vetting process was possible. Similarly, I hear she attended some very conservative schools in Pakistan. Again, assuming that is true, a move re thorough getting could have been done.

    The bottom line: If this is the best outcome with proper vetting, we are screwed!  


    Other than that Mrs Lincoln, how was the play?

    How easy it is for you to be so glib, ... (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Dec 23, 2015 at 11:14:24 AM EST
    ... while Jeralyn does all the heavy lifting. And that, in a nutshell, sums up why your Republican Party has deteriorated so profoundly.

    She focuses her attention on a subject and analyzes it in detail, whereas you skim while watching cartoons. What she examines for understanding, you dismiss because it's too complicated and challenging. Where she grasps the nuance in life's varying shades of color and gray, you refuse to see anything other than black and white.

    You prefer snappy one-liners rather than thoughtful dialogue, and demand easy answers to complex problems. When reality bites because you fail to heed the potential consequences of your actions or inaction, you disingenuously wonder aloud why things didn't turn out as you had hoped, and then blame others for your own failures rather than accept personal responsibility.

    If you insist upon doing as little as possible, hearing only what you want to hear and disregarding anything you find inconvenient or unpleasant, that's entirely your business. You'll eventually reap what you sow.

    But you don't ridicule others for doing the hard work that you eschew, especially when you're piggybacking through life on the backs of their efforts. Because Mother Earth has a penchant for seeking equilibrium in the interest of harmony and balance, and you mock her at your own peril. There's a reason why deadweight eventually sinks to the bottom.



    No ridicule whatsoever (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Sat Dec 26, 2015 at 10:31:02 PM EST

    The point you missed is that the State department is either spending way too much time or way to little time vetting immigrants.