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Boko Haram: Growing Threat to U.S. Homeland

Boko Haram: Growing Threat to U.S. Homeland published on

Authored by U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Securtiy

Two years on from the bloody and destructive suicide attack on a United Nations (U.N.) facility in Abuja, Nigeria, the Nigerian terrorist organization Boko Haram continues to pose a threat to both the United States and our allies. Since that attack, Boko Haram has received increased international attention, has carried out near-daily attacks throughout much of Nigeria, and has taken part in operations in other parts of West Africa. They remain a lethal and growing threat to the people of Nigeria, the international community, Americans in the region, and potentially the United States Homeland.

As on August 26, 2011, there is much we still do not know about Boko Haram or their splinter group Ansaru, which emerged in 2012. The exact details of their operations, size, and structure remain a mystery, and a solution to the defeating them remains elusive. Yet, despite these persistent gaps, this Committee has come to learn a great deal about Boko Haram, their goals, resources, and allies, and has identified steps the United States can take to address this threat.

On November 30, 2011, the Committee on Homeland Security Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence released a report entitled, “Boko Haram – Emerging Threat to the U.S. Homeland,” which detailed the history of, and danger posed by, Boko Haram. On the same day, the Subcommittee also held a hearing to examine the threat of Boko Haram and of terrorists across the Sahel region of West Africa. Members of this Committee, including then-Subcommittee Chairman Patrick Meehan and Full Committee Chairman Peter King, have written several times to the Department of State urging the Secretary to designate Boko Haram a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO). On May 17, 2012, Congressman Meehan also introduced the “Boko Haram Terrorist Designation Act of 2012,” a version of which became law as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013.

Each of these efforts has been designed to raise awareness of the threat Boko Haram poses to the United States, and provide solutions to the increasingly grave challenges we face in Nigeria and throughout western Africa.

This report – a follow up to “Boko Haram – Emerging Threat to the U.S. Homeland,” – provides even greater detail on the evolution of Boko Haram into an increasingly sophisticated ally of al Qaeda; elaborates courses of action open to the United States and our partners; and makes the case for Boko Haram to be listed as an FTO. In a diversified threat environment where multiple al Qaeda affiliates and allies (as well as other terror networks) are taking advantage of security deficiencies throughout the Middle East and Africa, it is vital that we anticipate and address all emerging terror threats, before they reach the United States. This includes lethal networks that fall outside of our historical notion of al Qaeda affiliates.

Publication Date:
Sep 24 2014
1502488973 / 9781502488978
Page Count:
Binding Type:
US Trade Paper
Trim Size:
8.5″ x 11″
Black and White
Related Categories:
Political Science / Political Freedom & Security / Terrorism


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