The Corner

Today’s Questions for the President

David Ignatius of the Washington Post reports that while you were leading (from behind) the effort to depose Libya’s Moammar Qaddafi, former CIA officers were warning last September that terrorist groups were attempting to acquire some of the estimated 20,000 shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles in the Libyan military arsenal.

Immediately after Qaddafi was overthrown, scores of al-Qaeda flags were raised throughout Libyan cities, including over the rebel headquarters in Benghazi. Rebel leader Abdel Hakim al-Hasidi admitted that a significant number of the rebels consisted of al-Qaeda fighters, many of whom had fought U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In November, a U.N. envoy reported that after Qaddafi was deposed, Libyan weapons depots were left unguarded. The depots contained, among other things, chemical and nuclear material, including 7,000 barrels of uranium.

Assistant Secretary of State Andrew Shapiro stated that terrorist groups were interested in obtaining the Libyan anti-aircraft missiles, which “could pose a threat to civil aviation.” Ignatius reports that the former CIA officers explained that the missiles include Russian made SA-7s and SA-24s. Only 5,000 of the  Libyan missiles  have been secured under a buy-back program, and the former CIA officers state that  missiles are in the hands of al-Qaeda and Boko Haram, an affiliated terrorist organization.

How many missiles have actually been accounted for? How many remain missing? Why weren’t the weapons depots secured? Was it because we were leading from behind?

Given the evident al-Qaeda sympathies of many of the rebels, what precautions did you take to ensure that Libyan chemical, radiological, and conventional weapons would not end up in the hands of terrorists?

Why aren’t shoulder- fired missiles as alarming a threat as underwear bombers?

What is the status of the estimated 7,000 barrels of uranium?

What is the status of our present relationship with Libya?

Peter Kirsanow — Peter N. Kirsanow is an attorney and a member of the United States Commission on Civil Rights.

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