The United States is running the risk of suffering a major terrorist attack at the hands of Libyan proxies because of its military intervention in Libya to overthrown dictator Moammar Gadhafi, according to Rep Peter King
, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.
King told The Hill that he backs the multinational campaign to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya, but he warns of retribution from Gadhafi, who has a long history of terrorist activity.
“In the long term, it is [in U.S. national security interests], but we also have to be concerned about terrorist attacks by Libya, either in the United States or more likely in Europe,” King told The Hill. “We have to realize that the risk of attack from Libya is certainly greater now than it was two weeks ago.”
The chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), also noted Gadhafi’s history of terrorism. "In assessing U.S. security interests and objectives, the president must also keep in mind Gadhafi’s attacks on Western targets resulting in the deaths of Americans in the 1980s,” she said in a statement Sunday.
Gadhafi’s government was implicated in the bombing of a nightclub in West Berlin in 1986 — which prompted President Ronald Reagan to order retaliatory military strikes — and the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988, The Hill pointed out.
The Lockerbie bombing led to years of U.N. sanctions until Libya renounced terrorism in 2003. The State Department listed Libya as a state sponsor of terrorism until 2006, when the Bush administration began a process of normalizing relations with the Gadhafi regime.
“Our counter-terrorism, law enforcement, intelligence and Homeland Security communities are staying vigilant and are taking steps to prevent any attempts, here or abroad, to exploit the current situation in Libya,” said Matthew Chandler, a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security, in a statement responding to King’s comments.
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