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Congressman Pete King

Representing the 2nd District of New York

King, Meehan Statement on State Department Designation of Three Boko Haram Terrorists

Jun 21, 2012

Department Has Yet to Designate Nigeria-based Group as Terrorist Organization, Despite Growing Threat

Washington, D.C. – Today, Rep. Peter T. King (R-NY), Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, and Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-PA), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, issued the following statement in response to the Department of State’s terrorist designations of Boko Haram Commander Abubakar Shekau, Khalid al-Barnawi and Abubakar Adam Kambar: 

“While today’s designation of three individual Boko Haram terrorists is a first step, it is not nearly enough.  Once again, we urge Secretary of State Clinton to immediately designate Boko Haram a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO).

Designation of three Boko Haram terrorists is insufficient. The legal ramifications of this designation only affect dealings with three designated individuals, and not the wider Boko Haram organization, which is growing in intent, capability and targeting capacity.  A conservative estimate of Boko Haram’s size would be a couple hundred, making three members symbolic, but not sufficient. 

Today’s designation does not allow the Department of the Treasury to sanction additional Boko Haram terrorists.  In order for others to be penalized for membership in Boko Haram, the Department of the Treasury will have to prove the individuals’ relationship directly to the three terrorists designated today.  If these three individuals are killed, the designations are meaningless.   

Nothing should be off the table; the U.S. Intelligence Community should have every available tool at its disposal to combat this organization.  The Department of State refuses to explain its rationale for not designating Boko Haram an FTO, which puts American lives at risk.  Given Boko Haram’s trajectory and intent to carry out terrorist attacks against Western targets, including possibly the Homeland, we must take the growing threat seriously.”

Note:  Twice this year, King and Meehan have requested that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton designate Boko Haram as an FTO.  Their most recent letter is available HERE.  Last year, the Committee released a bipartisan report entitled "Boko Haram - Emerging Threat to the U.S. Homeland" and convened a related hearing.