House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Oversight and Government Reform National Security Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) sent a letter Monday to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Acting Secretary Rand Beers demanding more information about the Obama Administration’s plans to lift a longstanding ban on Libyans coming to the U.S. to train at flight schools, to work in aviation maintenance or flight operations, or to find an education in nuclear science.
Goodlatte’s and Chaffetz’s letter was sent after ABC News recently reported that a breakdown in background checks of Iraqi refugees who came to the United States did not show that two Al Qaeda in Iraq terrorists with bomb-making skills were residing in Bowling Green, Kentucky, as refugees. This news comes on the heels of the administration’s plans to resettle Syrian refugees, as well.
The Judiciary Committee found this information out after receiving an internal draft final DHS regulation in October outlining the administration’s plan to alter its policy toward Libya. Both members gave Beers a deadline to provide the Committee with answers to their questions by December 16, 2013.
The ban on Libyans entering the United States occurred in the 1980s following several terrorist attacks involving the Libyan regime. The Obama administration claims the relationship the United States has with Libya has improved and is now “normalized.” Chaffetz and Goodlatte, however, challenged this argument saying that reports of terrorist incidents continue to come out of Libya over one year after the deadly attack on the U.S. Consulate and CIA annex in Benghazi, which resulted in the death of four Americans.
“We find it alarming that the draft regulation, which we understand is presently being circulated within DHS, goes on at length to discuss the manner in which relations with Libya have improved and are now ‘normalized,’ but fails to make any mention whatsoever of the terrorist attack in Libya on September 11, 2012,” Chaffetz and Goodlatte wrote in their letter to Acting Secretary Beers. “We must not forget that just over a year ago, the U.S. compound in Benghazi was attacked, which resulted in the murder of four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.”
In light of the continued national security threat to America, we find the planned policy reversal to be outright dangerous. The decision to lift the ban on allowing nationals of such a terror-plagued country to come to the U.S. to engage in flight-related training is particularly disturbing in light of the role such training played in the preparations for the 9-11 terror attacks. Further, lifting the ban on Libyan nationals to come to the U.S. to study nuclear science and related fields is incomprehensible in light of the peril the U.S. and its allies in the Near East face from the potential acquisition of nuclear weapons technology by terrorists or hostile nations in the region.