Hillary Clinton Refused To Label Boko Haram As Terrorist Group

Hillary Clinton refused to designate Boko Haram as a terrorist group despite pressure for two years before the Nigerian organization kidnapped 200 girls to sell into the sex trade. The former Secretary of State and likely presidential candidate has made multiple public statements condemning the deplorable kidnapping, but neglected to discuss the missed opportunity to investigate and curtail the group’s growth in the years leading up to the horrific crime.

Boko Haram is a militant group linked to al Qaeda. During her time as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton met many times with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, urging his government to “do more on counterterrorism,” according to the Daily Beast. In 2011, after Boko Haram bombed the United Nations headquarters in Abuja, Clinton was urged to place the group on the foreign terrorist organizations list, but she refused. The CIA, FBI, Justice Department, and more than one dozen Congressmen and Senators from both political parties pushed for such a designation.

A unnamed former US official who spoke with the Daily Beast said this about the Hillary Clinton-Boko Haram issue:

“The one thing she could have done, the one tool she had at her disposal, she didn’t use. And nobody can say she wasn’t urged to do it. It’s gross hypocrisy.”

In 2012, then Department of Justice official Lisa Monaco (now employed at the White House) penned a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to urge her once again to place Boko Haram on the terrorist watch list. Clinton again took no action to label the group as a threat and increase the investigative powers and financial sanctions which come with such a designation.

One month after Monaco’s letter, Chief of US Africa Command General Carter Ham told the State Department that Boko Haram is “likely sharing funds, training, and [providing] explosive materials” with al Qaeda group the Islamic Maghreb. Hillary Clinton once again declined to place the group which ultimately kidnapped 200 girls in Nigeria on the terrorism watch list.

After assuming Clinton’s post in 2013, current Secretary of State John Kerry finally designated Boko Haram as a terrorist group. The move came after a series of church bombings by the group. The terrorism label allows US intelligence agencies and law enforcement groups to use “certain tools,” such as some aspects of the Patriot Act, to deal with terrorist groups. One of the most often used tools in the ability to end access to the United States financial system for members of the group and any individual or entity associated with the organization.

Senator James Risch had this to say about Boko Haram:

“For years, Boko Haram has terrorized Nigeria and Western interests in the region with few consequences. The US government should have moved more quickly to list them as a terrorist organization and brought U.S. resources to track and disrupt their activities. The failure to act swiftly has had consequences.”

Prior to John Kerry designating the Boko Haram as a terrorist group last November, Senator Risch proposed legislation which would have forced Hillary Clinton to either label the group at a terrorist organization or explain why she was opposed to such a move. At the time, the State Department reportedly lobbied against the legislation. During the same time period, a similar push evolved in the House of Representatives, then Homeland Security Committee Chair Peter King led the movement to force Clinton to add the Nigerian group that kidnapped 200 girls and sparked the #bringbackourgirls hashtag, to the terrorism watch list.

Why do you think Hillary Clinton was opposed to designating Boko Haram as a terrorist group linked to al Qaeda?

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