OCTOBER 24, 2013
The Obama administration is secretly planning to lift a decades-long ban on Libyans coming to the United States to work in aviation maintenance, flight operations or train in nuclear science, according to an internal Homeland Security document.
Two federal lawmakers—Congressman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia and Jason Chaffetz of Utah—expressed outrage over the administration’s covert plan after obtaining a draft of the final regulation this week. Besides appearing on the State Department’s list of terrorist sponsoring nations for years, Libya is still a terrorism hotbed fresh in American minds after last fall’s Benghazi massacre.
Ambassador Christopher Stevens, the first diplomat to be killed overseas in decades, and three other Americans were murdered by Islamic militants in the September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. Special Mission in Benghazi, Libya. Judicial Watch has been a leader in investigating the Benghazi attack, filing a multitude of public records requests and litigation in federal court. Read JW’s two in-depth reports on Benghazi here and here.
It’s incomprehensible that the U.S. government is even considering reversing the longstanding policy banning Libyans from working or training in areas so crucial to national security. The prohibition was put in place in the 1980s after a wave of terrorist incidents involving Libyans. Among them is the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland and the bombing of a French airliner, UTA flight 772, which went down over Niger.
The Obama administration justifies lifting the Libyan work ban by claiming the United States’ relationship with Libya has been “normalized,” according to an announcement posted on Congressman Chaffetz’s official House website. However, the terror threat continues and a number of news reports document recent terror-related stories coming from Libya, the statement points out. The administration is putting Americans in harm’s way by lifting the “security ban on a country that has become a hotbed of terrorist activity,” the Utah Republican says.
Goodlatte, the House Judiciary Committee Chairman, expressed shock that the administration is ignoring the terrorist threats that still exist in Libya today. “Just over a year ago, four Americans were killed in the pre-planned terrorist attacks on the American Consulate in Benghazi,” the legislator reminds. “We still haven’t gotten to the bottom of the Benghazi terrorist attacks and continue to face additional terrorist threats from Libya, yet the Obama Administration is preparing to lift a longstanding ban that protects Americans and our interests.”
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