Josh Rogin reports at the Daily Beast that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a terrible call on Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram. That group is reported to have kidnapped over 200 young girls, and is now threatening to sell them into slavery.
Overnight, the group launched a violent attack that left as many as 310 dead. Its very name — Boko Haram — means “western education is sinful.” It’s linked to al Qaeda.
Back in 2011, several agencies within the US government wanted to slap the terrorist label on Boko Haram. Those agencies lobbied to put Boko Haram on the US State Department’s official list of terrorist groups. Hillary Clinton was secretary of state at the time, and she refused to label Boko Haram a terrorist group, despite pleading from others within the Obama administration.
What Clinton didn’t mention [in her May 4 tweet highlighting the mass kidnapping] 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.
Boko Haram was not added to the terrorist list until Clinton departed the State Department and John Kerry replaced her.
Had Hillary placed Boko Haram on her department’s terrorist list, the US government could have cut off some funds to the group. The US government could also have stigmatized and isolated the group. It could have started cracking down on anyone associated with it outside of Nigeria. Clinton’s refusal to call Boko Haram a terrorist group kept American law enforcement from going after Boko Haram for more than two years, while it was building up strength and terrorizing Nigeria.
On May 4, Hillary Clinton tweeted about the plight of the captured girls. But the fact is, her own decisions paved the way for Boko Haram to be in a position to kidnap those girls in the first place. US law enforcement lost a crucial two years to fight Boko Haram, thanks directly to Hillary Clinton’s management of the State Department.
One question is, did Clinton refuse to designate Boko Haram a terrorist group to help build the Obama campaign’s “al Qaeda is decimated/on the run” line that it used in the 2012 election?