Charlotte Hays

Was Hillary Clinton not merely a mediocre secretary of state but something much worse?

Although Mrs. Clinton has spent the last few days huffing and puffing about the fate, likely unthinkable, of the more than 200 Nigerian girls kidnapped by Boko Haram, an Al Qaeda-linked Islamic terrorist organization, Mrs. Clinton didn’t do anything about Boko Haram when she had a chance.

While Secretary Clinton, who made empowering women and girls a chief goal of her tenure, repeatedly was begged to designate Boko Haram a terrorist organization, thus allowing the U.S. to take certain actions against the group, she reportedly fought hard not to do so.

Josh Rogin of the Daily Beast and others are reporting that under Clinton the State Department strenuously resisted calls to put Boko Haram on its official list of foreign terrorist organizations for two years.

The Justice Department, the CIA, the FBI, and Gen. Carter Ham, the chief of U.S. Africa Command, urged the designation (which Secretary of State John Kerry has since made). According to Rogin, Ham contended that Boko Haram provided a “safe haven” for al-Qaeda and was believed to be sharing explosives and money with al-Qaeda. In 2013, Clinton’s State Department, according to the Daily Beast report, lobbied against a bill by eight Republican senators to designate Boko Haram a terrorist organization.

“The one thing [Clinton] 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,” a former senior U.S. official who was involved in the debate told the Daily Beast.

A terrorist designation would not have solved all the problems, but at the very least U.S. officials dispatched to Nigeria to help try to rescue the girls would have known much more about the situation. Clinton, too, should have known the value of such a designation.

If Clinton could not have predicted these specific kidnappings, she certainly knew something of this sort was inevitable and that Boko Haram puts women at risk. Boko Haram bombs Christian churches, seeks to establish sharia law, and opposes education, which it regards as a holdover from British rule.


Charlotte Hays

Director of Cultural Programs at the Independent Women's Forum.