Obama Leads from Behind on Terrorists

Jalaluddin Haqqani, founder of Haqqani Network / AP
September 7, 2012

President Obama said last night that he has refocused on dangerous terrorists, but it took a Congressional Act to force his administration to officially list a known terrorist organization as such.

Congress passed legislation in July to list the Haqqani Network as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO), but Secretary of State Hillary Clinton only announced today that the State Department would officially designate Haqqani a FTO, fulfilling the law’s demands.

"Today, I have sent a report to Congress saying that the Haqqani Network meets the statutory criteria of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) for designation as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO). This action meets the requirements of the Haqqani Network Terrorist Designation Act of 2012," Clinton wrote in a press release.

The Haqqani Network’s malfeasance is well-documented and has ties to both al Qaeda and the Pakastani government.

A senior administration official said today in a conference call with reporters that administration officials have "long been aware of the Haqqani Network’s intent to cause instability in Afghanistan and attack and kill U.S. civilians and military service members."

A second official said, "The actions announced today strengthen our whole-of-government effort against the Haqqanis and demonstrates the seriousness with which we take the task of protecting our personnel in Afghanistan."

The listing has had bipartisan support in Congress for months. Sen. Diane Feinstein (D., Calif.) had been pushing for over two years to procure the Haqqani listing and Sen. Richard Burr (R., N.C.) introduced the bill late last year.

House Armed Services Committee chairman Buck McKeon (R., Calif.) said in a statement, "Designating them as a foreign terrorist organization is long overdue."

This incident is just the latest of an administration that tends to "lead from behind" in foreign policy.