White House press secretary Jay Carney could not offer a tangible reason to explain why it took the Obama administration two years to label Boko Haram a terrorist organization Friday on MSNBC.
He cited a number of lesser measures the administration implemented to address the group’s heinous acts, but stopped short of stating what kept Boko Haram off the State Department’s terror organization list between 2011 and 2013:
KRISTEN WELKER: It took two years for that to happen from 2011 to 2013. Why did it take so long?
JAY CARNEY: The fact is we have been working with Nigerian government and others in the battle against Boko Haram and other organizations like it and we’ll continue to do that. That predates any designations of individuals or of the organization itself. What cannot be forgotten is that the responsibility for these heinous acts lies entirely with Boko Haram and its leaders. This organization is hideous in its intentions and incredibly dangerous and already responsible for something like 1,000 deaths this year, from what I understand. And we’re going to work with all of our partners, including most especially the Nigerian government to combat this organization and its leaders.
The terrorist group bombed the Abuja U.N. headquarters in 2011, but the State Department under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton resisted labeling Boko Haram as terrorist organization for two years.
The Daily Beast’s Josh Rogin reports the CIA, DOJ, and over a dozen Congressional leaders pushed the State Department to make the declaration in the two years following the bombing.
In reaction to Clinton’s newfound outrage over the situation in Nigeria, Rogin quotes one unnamed official blasting her hypocrisy:
“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,” said a former senior U.S. official who was involved in the debate. “The FBI, the CIA, and the Justice Department really wanted Boko Haram designated, they wanted the authorities that would provide to go after them, and they voiced that repeatedly to elected officials.”