Tags: Barack Obama | Hillary Clinton | Steve Malzberg Show | War on Terrorism | nigeria | kidnappings | schoolgirls

Commentary's Tobin: Boko Haram Is Another Obama Failure

Thursday, 08 May 2014 05:44 PM

Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton turning down an intelligence request to classify Boko Haram — the Islamic extremists who recently kidnapped hundreds of Nigerian schoolgirls — as a terrorist group is another example of Obama administration foreign policy shortcomings, according to Jonathan Tobin, a columnist and senior online editor for Commentary.

"What’s happened in Africa is in some ways related to another foreign policy disaster … which is what happened in [Benghazi], Libya," Tobin told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

"Our lead-from-behind strategy allowed a lot of the terrorist weapons into Libya and a lot of the terrorists in Libya just spread and to neighboring countries.''

Boko Haram has abducted more than 200 girls from a boarding school and threaten to sell them into slavery.

"Much of the arms that Boko Haram has been terrorizing northeast and Nigeria with came from Libya because we didn't get them," Tobin said.

"This was a foreign policy failure, this was a disaster that was orchestrated by President Obama's policy carried out by Secretary Clinton.

"These things are all connected. Not connected in terms of a conspiracy but connected in terms of incompetence and a lack of vision."

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This week, in an interview with ABC News' Robin Roberts, Clinton said she is "absolutely" satisfied with the previous probes into the handling of Benghazi, even though "some choose not to be satisfied and choose to continue to move forward."

Tobin said Clinton's answers are a signal to the Democratic party not to "play along'' with the Republican-created House select committee chosen to probe the Sept. 11, 2012 attack in which four Americans died.

"[Clinton is indicating] their best bet is to try and boycott it, try and brand it [as] … just a partisan fishing expedition and therefore no matter what the committee finds out it will be no big deal,'' he said.

Tobin called Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina — a former prosecutor tapped by House Speaker John Boehner to lead the select committee's investigation — an "inspired" choice.

But the investigation may be coming a year too late, he added.

"The thing that the Democrats have going for them here is that Hillary's right, there have been a lot of committee hearings, but unfortunately they've been the usual congressional hearing circuses where just both sides strut in, grand stand and [have] no real subpoena power," Tobin said.

"This should have been done a year ago, I understand why the Speaker John Boehner was reluctant to do it a year ago, but this is a little late, it's not too late, but that still creates a problem for the Republicans."

Tobin added that the feeling of Democratic lawmakers that the new investigation could end up hurting Republicans, it actually cuts both ways.

"As much as Democrats think this is a trap for Republicans, it's a trap for Democrats too because there are real questions that have yet to be answered," Tobin said.

"We want to know more about the talking points and about that fraud that was perpetrated on the American people, we want to know more about what Hillary Clinton knew when she knew it and what she did.

"We want to know what President [Barack] Obama was doing that night. Was he in the situation room or not.... Was he out to lunch?"

He said Democrats will ultimately not boycott the committee probe because Clinton will doubtless be subpoenaed to testify.

"She's not going to be able to get out of it and with Trey Gowdy or with an able council for the committee interrogating her, Democrats are going to want some members of Congress on their side to be there to help her," Tobin said.

"Because if they're not, it's going to go worse for her than she thinks.''

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