Tags: james lankford | niger | terrorism | presence

Lankford: US Presence in Niger Justified Because of Terrorism

(Fox News)

By    |   Monday, 23 October 2017 12:45 PM

The United States' presence in Niger, where four Green Berets lost their lives in an Islamic State ambush earlier this month, is justified because of the fight against terrorism, Sen. James Lankford, an Intelligence Committee member, said on Monday.

"The issue is, we are all over wherever terrorists are," the Oklahoma Republican told Fox News' "Fox and Friends," noting that there are both ISIS and al-Qaida terrorists in the region.

"Right next door in Mali, we have had over 100 UN peacekeepers [killed]," Lankford added. "A lot of these were by Islamist extremists. Just to the north of Niger is Libya. Those weapons in the chaos of Libya are flowing to the south. There is a reason for us to be there."

Typically, extremists have "not engaged" with U.S. soldiers, but "obviously they did this time."

Lawmakers are calling for further investigation into the deaths of Sgt. La David Johnson, 25, of Miami Gardens, Florida; Staff Sgt. Bryan Black, 35, of Puyallup, Washington; Staff Sgt. Jeremiah W. Johnson, 39, of Springboro, Ohio; and Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright, 29, of Lyons, Georgia, the four Green Berets who were killed.

Meanwhile, Lankford said, there have been several conflicting stories about the deadly engagement, and he is bothered by the accounts.

"Initially [there were] different stories," the senator said. "Some said our soldiers engaged in the battle. Others say no, they attacked us. We have got to see what happened."

What is known is that the military had seen ISIS "several times on the horizon," said Lankford, but "typically those folks haven't engaged with us and we haven't engaged with them."

Lankford added that most of the U.S. presence in the region are there as advisers, but "obviously, the fight came to us at this time. We want to find out the details to see what we can do to protect our men and women."

Further, now that ISIS has lost its caliphate headquarters in Raqqa, they are "spreading everywhere," and its fighters are engaged in 13 different nations, with Libya and the Sinai Peninsula being "primary" locations for the extremists.

"We have 10 million refugees out there," Lankford said. "Iran is in control of Syria. We can't just say ISIS is out of Syria, so everything is done there."

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The United States' presence in Niger, where four Green Berets lost their lives in an Islamic State ambush earlier this month, is justified because of the fight against terrorism, Sen. James Lankford, an Intelligence Committee member, said on Monday.
james lankford, niger, terrorism, presence
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2017-45-23
Monday, 23 October 2017 12:45 PM
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