“We must stand up to terrorism,” bleated Hillary Clinton a few days ago in a tweet expressing outrage against Boko Haram, the jihadist organization that has abducted hundreds of young girls in Nigeria. Yet, when she was actually in a position to stand up to Boko Haram’s terrorism as secretary of state, Mrs. Clinton instead protected the group.
At the Daily Beast, Josh Rogin reports:
The State Department under Hillary Clinton fought hard against placing the al Qaeda-linked militant group Boko Haram on its official list of foreign terrorist organizations for two years. And now, lawmakers and former U.S. officials are saying that the decision may have hampered the American government’s ability to confront the Nigerian group that shocked the world by abducting hundreds of innocent girls.
While Mrs. Clinton now issues indignant tweets, Mr. Rogin elaborates on her failure to mention
that her own State Department refused to place Boko Haram on the list of foreign terrorist organizations in 2011, after the group bombed the UN headquarters in Abuja. The refusal came despite the urging of the Justice Department, the FBI, the CIA, and over a dozen Senators and Congressmen.
“The one thing she could have done, the one tool she had at her disposal, she didn’t use. And nobody can say she wasn’t urged to do it. It’s gross hypocrisy,” said a former senior U.S. official who was involved in the debate. “The FBI, the CIA, and the Justice Department really wanted Boko Haram designated, they wanted the authorities that would provide to go after them, and they voiced that repeatedly to elected officials.”
In May 2012, then-Justice Department official Lisa Monaco (now at the White House) wrote to the State Department to urge Clinton to designate Boko Haram as a terrorist organization. The following month, Gen. Carter Ham, the chief of U.S. Africa Command, said that Boko Haram provided a “safe haven” for al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and was likely sharing explosives and funds with the group. And yet, Hillary Clinton’s State Department still declined to place Boko Haram on its official terrorist roster.
As Mr. Rogin further details, placing an organization on the terrorist list enables the government to use various investigative tools for law-enforcement and intelligence-gathering purposes. It also squeezes the organization by criminalizing the provision of material support and the conduct of business with it.
After numerous Boko Haram atrocities, Republicans attempted to force Secretary Clinton to designate the group or explain why she refused to do so. The State Department heavily lobbied against the legislation. Only after John Kerry replaced Clinton, and after a series of jihadist bombings against churches and other targets, did the State Department finally relent and add Boko Haram to the terrorist list last November.
The excuses now being offered in explanation of Clinton’s dereliction are specious. As Rogin explains, Clinton’s State Department claimed that Boko Haram was merely a local group with parochial grievances that were no threat to the United States. Have a look, though, at the State Department’s list, here. Several of the listed groups are waging local terrorist campaigns that do not threaten our country—the Basque ETA, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the Real Irish Republican Army, etc. A significant reason for having the list is to promote international cooperation against terrorism and discourage its use against anyone anywhere. The fact that a terrorist organization may have only local grievances and may not directly imperil the U.S. has never been thought a reason to exclude it from the list.
[Read the whole article here.]