By Jim Kouri
Two top GOP lawmakers urged US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton to add the violent and deadly Nigerian terrorist group — who are affiliated with both al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and Somalia’s Al-Shabaab — to the State Department’s list of terrorist organizations.
Rep. Peter T. King (R-NY), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, and Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-PA), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, released a statement to report that they have called on Secretary Hillary Clinton to designate the Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) because of its threat the United States’ security and public safety.
According to the two veteran lawmakers, within the last six months Boko Haram has “intensified its campaign of terrorism, including detonating a vehicle borne improvised explosive device at a Catholic church” during a Christmas Day mass.
The Nigerian terrorists also conducted a series of attacks in January 2012 throughout Nigeria that killed dozens of innocent civilians. These attacks follow the August 26, 2011 bombing of the U.N. headquarters in Abuja that killed 23 and injured 100. According to Human Rights Watch, Boko Haram has killed more than 900 people in the last two years, the lawmakers noted.
“Unfortunately, with this administration, you must practically stand on your head in order to get them to even consider adding a group to the already lengthy list of terrorist organizations. It not surprising when you remember that Secretary Clinton’s husband [President Bill Clinton] all but ignored al-Qaeda, which frustrated his FBI director [Louis Freeh] and his chief of counterterrorism [John O’Neill],” said former military intelligence officer and NYPD detective Mike Snopes.
The request, in a letter to Clinton, follows the November 2011 release by the Committee of a bipartisan report entitled, “Boko Haram: Emerging Threat to the U.S. Homeland” and a related hearing.
In their letter to Clinton, King and Meehan wrote: “We are deeply concerned that Boko Haram’s tactics, targeting, and fundraising operations appear to be increasingly international in scope, including within the U.S. Homeland… We must ensure that the Federal government does not become complacent and allow bureaucratic stovepipes to prevent us from addressing a critical terrorist threat.”
“The brazenness and sophistication of these attacks are hallmarks of al Qaeda trade craft. Boko Haram’s rapid progression from a machete wielding mob to a full blown al Qaeda affiliate targeting the United Nations and Western interests is deeply concerning to multiple members of the U.S. Intelligence Community, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the U.S. Department of Defense’s Special Operations Command (USSOCOM).
“As you know, designating Boko Haram an FTO will ensure that the Department of Justice has the necessary legal authorities to prosecute individuals associated with Boko Haram for any terrorism related crimes within the U.S. Homeland. It will also allow the Department of Treasury the authority to designate individuals within Boko Haram for illicit fundraising.
“Currently, neither the Departments of Justice nor Treasury can take such actions without FTO designation creating unnecessary risk. In addition, FTO designation will ensure that all other members of the U.S. Intelligence Community have every military, intelligence, diplomatic, and economic tool at their disposal to disrupt and deter Boko Haram’s operations, planning, and fundraising both internationally and domestically.”