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HomeNewsPoliticsA Culture Of Denial: Behind Hillary Clinton’s Boko Haram Disaster

A Culture Of Denial: Behind Hillary Clinton’s Boko Haram Disaster

Hillary Clinton Boko Haram
Hillary Clinton Boko Haram

Hillary Clinton argued against designating Boko Harum a terrorist organization when serving as Secretary of State.

In 2012, Emmanuel Ogebe sent then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton a 75-page brief advocating in favor of designating Boko Haram a terrorist organization. He received no response from Hillary Clinton or anyone at the State Department for that matter.

Ogebe, an international human rights lawyer and expert in bilateral U.S.-Nigerian relations, just returned from a three week fact-finding mission to Nigeria. While visiting refugee camps along the border with Cameroon, he interviewed countless victims who have been terrorized by Boko Haram. He recently reported his findings at an event hosted at the Hudson Institute, describing the failure of both U.S. and Nigerian governments to combat the violence and the rise of radical Islam in the region and around the world.

Boko Haram — a Hausa phrase meaning “Western education is a sin” — is an Islamic terrorist group whose stated goal is the forceful establishment of a strict, sharia-law theocracy in Nigeria. In April, Boko Haram abducted and enslaved some 276 schoolgirls while they were taking exams in a facility located in the northeastern Nigerian, Christian-populated enclave of Chibok. While the group has been threatening to sell the girls for roughly $12.00 each, their motivation for kidnapping the girls was Islamic extremism.

Yet, one might never know that if they walked the halls of the State Department, where at the highest levels a culture of denial exists regarding the grave threat of Islamic extremism. While First Lady Michelle Obama was the focus of criticism this past week for her use of “hashtag diplomacy,” tweeting out a picture holding a sign that read #BringOurGirlsHome, Clinton’s tweet warranted equal scrutiny, if not more.

Clinton’s tweet underscores a fundamental problem with the liberal world-view that is systemic at the liberally-dominated State Department. It’s not education that Boko Haram objects to per se, but Western education, hence the name. Clinton, at a campaign-style speech this week, also described the kidnapping as an “act of terrorism” that merits “the fullest response possible.” But, despite her too-late expression of outrage, when she had a chance to take meaningful action during her time as the head of the State Department, she didn’t. No amount pandering will change that reality.

“This is clearly a failure of the secretary of state,” Rep. Peter King said. “She refused to call Boko Haram a terrorist organization.”

It wasn’t as if the group just made their activities known after this most-recent kidnapping. Aside from the group’s long history of kidnapping and other acts of terror, Reps. Patrick Meehan (R-PA) and Jackie Speier (D-CA) first to wrote to Clinton asking her to label Boko Haram a terror group back in September 2011, just three weeks after the attack on a United Nations office in Abuja, Nigeria, which killed 23 people. As Ogebe noted, Hillary Clinton and the State Department refused the designation even though an American FBI agent was among the those murdered as a result of the attack.

However, persuaded by the then-furious FBI, the Justice Department joined the lawmakers in advocating for the terror designation, which allows the Treasury Department to freeze assets and the Justice Department to take further investigative action.

On March 30, 2012, a letter from Rep. Peter King, who was then the Chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, and Rep. Meehan again urged Hillary Clinton to “immediately designate” Boko Haram a terrorist group. It was followed just a few months later by another letter from Assistant Attorney General Lisa Monaco (viewable below), a high-level Justice Department official who also urged the State Department to place Boko Haram on the terror organization list. In Monaco’s letter, she lays out the case for the designation statute-by-statute, warning of the threat and arguing for the need to “make available a wide range of criminal and civil penalties” the Justice Department typically imposes to coerce cooperation and deterrence.

Still, Hillary Clinton refused all of the above requests. Within the once-feared and power politic-playing State Department, an evolution in to a leftwing bureaucracy hell-bent on reasoning with theologically-driven terrorists they don’t fully understand, occurred. But even though this evolution has accelerated throughout the Obama presidency, it doesn’t originate from Obama, it’s just thriving.

The State Department is known for being liberal,” Jonathan Gilliam, a former Navy SEAL and 8-year veteran of the FBI said in an interview Friday night on Fox News. According to Gilliam, who is now the founder and CEO of U.S. Continued Service, this evolution really began to grow roots during the Clinton years, when “the warrior” mentality became unacceptable to the foreign service officers at state.

State Department officials told People’s Pundit Daily that they were concerned about putting Boko Haram on the list of terror groups because they feared it would elevate the group’s profile and give it “greater credibility.” But Ogebe says they have received more credibility from First Lady Michelle Obama than they ever could have received from the terror designation.

“They’re up there with the big boys now,” Ogebe said in an interview Friday night. “For years they have been flapping their mouths.”

Their efforts had gone on without success until Michelle Obama and others helped to garner them the attention they desired, according to Ogebe. He noted that even after Boko Harum murder an American FBI agent during the attack at Abuja, Nigeria, the State Department opposed the Justice Department plan to take action. For Ogebe and many others, the lack of response and policy from the U.S. stems from ignorance of Islamic extremism.

“They are still saying the motive for the kidnapping was money,” he said. “At $12.00 a piece, $12 times 300 is $3600.00. That doesn’t make any sense.” Terror groups just don’t undertake missions of such magnitude to raise such a trivial amount of money.

Ogebe, returning from a previous trip to the region, brought back Deborah Peters, a teenage girl originally from the village of Chibok. In Chibok, hundreds of her neighbors and friends were recently taken captive by Boko Haram. Peters is the second known survivor and the first female survivor of Boko Haram to visit Washington. She survived and was released before the group changed their tactics. They killed her father and tortured her brother, but they used to have exceptions for women. Unfortunately, now they’ve changed that tactic and the new policy is now on full display.

Deborah is now a student in the United States. For Ms. Peters, Mr. Ogebe, Justice Department officials and others intimately familiar with the reality of Islamic terrorism, the State Department’s mindset is dumbfounding. For State Department officials, a misguided bureaucracy perpetuating a culture of denial, ignorance is their reality and it is bliss.

Watch Emmanuel Ogebe and Deborah Peters discuss the threat from Boko Haram. The panel was moderated by Nina Shea, the Senior Fellow and Director of the Center for Religious Freedom at the Hudson Institute.

Written by

Rich, the People's Pundit, is the Data Journalism Editor at PPD and Director of the PPD Election Projection Model. He is also the Director of Big Data Poll, and author of "Our Virtuous Republic: The Forgotten Clause in the American Social Contract."

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