Obama Failed to Label Boko Haram Terrorists

Monday, 12 May 2014 11:05 AM

By Fred Fleitz

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Readers of the Langley Intelligence Group Network (LIGNET), Newsmax Media’s online analysis and forecasting service, have long known that Boko Haram, a radical Nigerian Islamist group that has taken over 275 girls hostage and threatened to sell them into slavery, is a terrorist group.

LIGNET has been clear about this since it was launched in the fall of 2011.

We said at the beginning of a December 2012 analysis that the Obama administration’s decision not to name Boko Haram a terrorism organization made no sense. The analysis makes the important point that oil exports played a role in the decision:





The full text of this article can be found here. (You will need a $1 LIGNET trial membership to read if you do not already have a LIGNET subscription.)

We found it hard not to call Boko Harem a terrorist group based on its record of indiscriminate violence and murder:
  • About 1,000 killed per year since 2009, including an estimated 1,500 in 2014.
  • Attacks on Christian churches on Christmas Day 2011 which killed 44.
  • Attacks on Christian churches on Easter Sunday, 2012 which killed 38.
  • Killing of at least 19 Christians at a Bible study in central Nigeria on Aug. 7, 2012.
  • Killings on Dec. 1, 2012, in which a group of Islamist attackers went house to house in the predominantly Christian village of Chibok, setting fires and slitting throats — 10 Christians were killed.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ignored pleas by the Justice Department, the FBI, and U.S. intelligence officials to designate Boko Haram a foreign terrorist organization because the State Department claimed the group was motivated by poverty and low levels of literacy.

Clinton also reportedly did not designate the group as a foreign terrorist organization because State Department officials did not see it as a direct threat to the U.S. and its interests and worried such a designation would raise Boko Haram’s profile.

When they rejected calls to designate Boko Haram a terrorist organization, Secretary Clinton and her senior officials also had to ignore links between Boko Haram and radical Islamist terrorist groups.

For example, the radical jihadist group is believed to have links to Islamist rebels in Mali. The Nigerian government claims Boko Haram received major financing and training from al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO). There also were reports of Boko Haram members were staying at AQIM training camps in Timbuktu, Mali prior to French airstrikes on the city in January 2013.

Secretary of State John Kerry finally designated Boko Haram a terrorist organization in November 2013 after attacks in Benisheikh, Nigeria in September 2013 that killed more than 160 civilians, including women and children. In a statement announcing this designation, Kerry also accused Boko Haram of conducting attacks against international targets, including a suicide bombing of the United Nations building in Abuja on Aug. 26, 2011.

The Boko Haram suicide bombing of the U.N. building in Nigeria sounded like a terrorist attack to me. Why didn’t Hillary Clinton see them that way in 2011?

Some of Hillary Clinton’s critics have asserted that her refusal to designate Boko Haram as a terrorist organization was because this would have undermined President Obama claim during his 2012 re-election campaign that “Osama bin Laden is dead and al-Qaeda is on the run.” The Obama administration has been accused of refusing to call the September 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi a terrorist attack for the same reason.

Fred Fleitz served for 25 years with the CIA, the State Department, and the House Intelligence Committee staff. He is currently chief analyst with LIGNET.com, Newsmax Media’s global intelligence and forecasting service. Read more reports from Fred Fleitz — Click Here Now.

Click HERE to read LIGNET’s latest analysis.

 

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