Boko Haram launched a grisly attack on a Nigerian village in an area that troops had been using as a base in the search for hundreds of schoolgirls abducted by the militant group, witnesses told CNN on Wednesday.
The hourslong assault on Gamboru Ngala that left at least 150 people dead, some of whom were burned alive, is the latest in a series of brazen attacks and abductions by Boko Haram, raising concern about whether the Nigerian government can retake control of the region from the entrenched terror group.
There is no doubt that Nigeria’s Boko Haram (which charmingly means “Western education is sinful”) is a vicious terrorist organization. It is currently the center of an international melodrama as US and British military contingents have joined the hunt for some 230 Christian school girls kidnapped by Boko Haram with the intent of marrying them to Islamic terrorists. Yet, in what is looking like yet another major accomplishment for Hillary Clinton’s State Department, Josh Rogin at The Daily Beast is reporting that Boko Haram was never listed as a terrorist organization until after John Kerry became Secretary of State:
What Clinton didn’t mention was that her own State Department refused to place Boko Haram on the list of foreign terrorist organizations in 2011, after the group bombed the U.N. 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 “are likely sharing funds, training, and explosive materials” with al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. And yet, Hillary Clinton’s State Department still declined to place Boko Haram on its official terrorist roster.
It wasn’t like Kerry was all that interested, either. He was sworn in on February 1, 2013 and Boko Haram was only listed as a terrorist organization on November 14, 2013.
Rogin goes on to talk about the efforts expended by Democrat and Republican senators and congressmen to have Clinton designate Boko Haram a terrorist group:
Risch and seven other GOP senators introduced legislation in early 2013 that would have forced Clinton to designate the group or explain why she thought it was a bad idea. The State Department lobbied against the legislation at the time, according to internal State Department emails obtained by The Daily Beast.
In the House, leading intelligence-minded lawmakers wrote letter after letter to Clinton urging her to designate Boko Haram as terrorists. The effort in the House was led by then-Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King and Patrick Meehan, chairman of the Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence.
Meehan and his Democratic counterpart Jackie Speier put out a lengthy reportin 2011 laying out the evidentiary basis for naming Boko Haram a terrorist organization, including the group’s ties to al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and to Somalia’s al-Shabab terrorist organization.
In an interview Wednesday, Meehan told The Daily Beast that if Clinton had placed Boko Haram on the terrorism list in 2011, U.S. law enforcement agencies now being deployed to Nigeria to help search for the girls might have been in a better position.
“We lost two years of increased scrutiny. The kind of support that is taking place now would have been in place two years ago,” he said. The designation would have “enhanced the capacity of our agencies to do the work that was necessary. We were very frustrated, it was a long delay.”
And, it looks like Clinton was going for some kind of “re-set button” with the Nigerians:
Inside the Clinton State Department, the most vocal official opposing designating Boko Haram was Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson, who served in that position from 2009 to 2013. Several officials said that the Nigerian government was opposed to the designation and Carson was focused on preserving the relationship between Washington and Abuja.
Though why Clinton chose Nigeria as the single nation in the world that the administration would not humiliate, alienate, or antagonize is more than a little unclear. With this story coming to light, Clinton’s apologists are doing what they’ve always done best: make excuses for the inexcusable:
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.
Fox News has further reported another rationale of Clinton apologists: Hillary did not want to raise Boko Haram’s profile and assist its recruiting which, they reason, would be the effect of designation by the Great Satan. That is ridiculous. The main point of having the list, and the sanctions that accompany a terrorist designation, is to weaken the organization by depriving it of assets and material support. The logic of what Clinton supporters are claiming is that U.S. counterterrorism law—much of which was put in place by the administration of President Bill Clinton—does more harm than good. Does anyone think they really believe that?
Now there are about 230 Christian girls from this one kidnapping doomed to a life of slavery after an forced marriage to a jihadi gunman. But never fear, the White House has an answer: