U.S. Consulate in Nigeria Asked Clinton State Dept. Why Boko Haram Wasn't Called 'Terrorist Organization'
11:09 AM, May 8, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
Boko Haram, the militant group responsible for the recent kidnapping of 276 girls in Nigeria, was not designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) by the State Department until November of 2013 despite a long record of violence. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has now come under fire, as reported by Josh Rogin at the Daily Beast, for resisting calls for the FTO designation for Boko Haram during her tenure at the State Department. Rogin says that "[t]he refusal came despite the urging of the Justice Department, the FBI, the CIA, and over a dozen senators and congressmen." But in 2012, even U.S. State Department diplomats in Nigeria seemed mystified about why the government was "reluctant" to issue the designation.
On September 20, 2012, then Bureau of African Affairs Assistant Secretary Johnnie Carson appeared on a State Department "Live at State" webchat regarding "U.S. Policy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa." Questions from journalists and other individuals via webchat were posed to Carson by the host, Holly Jensen. At one point, a question was asked by the "U.S. Consulate in Lagos [Nigeria]":
Carson went on to note that while the organization itself was not designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, three individuals within Boko Haram were designated as Specially Designated Global Terrorists in June 2012:
In his Daily Beast report, Josh Rogin said that Johnnie Carson "defended the decision to avoid naming Boko Haram a terrorist organization in a Wednesdayphone call with reporters."
But in the September 2012 webchat, Carson seemed to suggest that the State Department did not even consider the "Boko Haram movement," as he called it, to necessarily be a terror organization, but rather several groups simply "focused on trying to discredit the Nigerian Government":
In any case, the State Department eventually applied the FTO designation to Boko Haram under secretary John Kerry. But questions remain about why Hillary Clinton's State Department fought so hard against the designation contrary to the opinions of not only the FBI, CIA, the Justice Department, and lawmakers, but apparently of State Department personnel on the ground in the country where Boko Haram was carrying out its campaign of violence.
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