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Ted Cruz Gets His Facts Wrong On San Bernardino Shooter’s Social Media Postings

Cruz claims Tashfeen Malik openly called for jihad on social media prior to the attacks in San Bernardino. FBI Director James Comey has dismissed this as "garble."

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In commenting on Tuesday's terrorist attacks in Brussels, Ted Cruz criticized the Obama administration for what he described as a refusal, driven by political correctness, to look at the social media postings of San Bernardino shooter Tashfeen Malik calling for jihad.

"The San Bernardino terrorist, the female terrorist posted on social media a public call to jihad, but the Obama administration refused to look at social media because they thought it was politically incorrect," said Cruz on CNN on Tuesday. "We should not be admitting people who are calling for jihad and we need a president focused on keeping the country safe."

Cruz repeated his claim on the radio and in a different television interviews on Tuesday, but the statements about jihad made by Mailk were made in private messages, not publicly on social media, and thus wouldn't have shown up even if officials vetting her for a visa had attempted to look at her social media posting, which they did not.

"So far in this investigation we have found no evidence of the posting on social media by either of them at that period of time and thereafter reflecting their commitment to jihad or to martyrdomm," FBI Director James Comey said in December. "I've seen some reporting on that. That's a garble. All right?

"The investigation continues, but we have not found that kind of thing. These communications are private, direct messages, not social media messages," he added.

Malik did swear allegiance to ISIS in a Facebook post in the midst of the attack, under an assumed name. A Cruz spokesman pointed to the Facebook post as vindication of Cruz's repeated claim, but Cruz clearly was referencing posts made prior to the attack.

Speaking on local Utah radio Tuesday morning, Cruz said, "The San Bernardino terrorist came to America, the female terrorist had posted on social media a public call to jihad and yet the Obama administration refused to look to social media because of political correctness and let her in."

And on Fox News, again, Cruz said, "Likewise the San Bernardino terrorists . The female terrorists publicly posted on some social media calls to jihad and yet this administration refused to look at social media because of political correctness."

Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Andrew Kaczynski at andrew.kaczynski@buzzfeed.com.

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