President Obama’s White House team supports repealing a Reagan-era anti-terrorism measure targeted against Libyan nationals, on the theory that the United States has “normalized” relations with the war-torn country.
Homeland Security secretary Jeh Johnson has the final authority over whether to reverse Reagan’s ban on allowing Libyan nationals to receive aviation-maintenance and nuclear-sciences training in the United States.
“The worst-case scenario is that we actually proactively train the terrorists that want to kill Americans,” Representative Jason Chaffetz (R., Utah) told National Review Online.
OMB’s abstract on the rule change says that the United States has “normalized” its relationship with the Libyans.
“The United States Government and the Government of Libya have normalized their relationship and most of the restrictions and sanctions imposed by the United States and the United Nations toward Libya have been lifted,” according to OMB.
To which Chaffetz replies, what government? “You can’t even tell me who the prime minister of Libya is at times because they come and go so fast,” he said. “There’s not a functioning government; there’s lawlessness at every turn; you have an active al-Qaeda [affiliate] in Libya.”
Chaffetz says that makes it difficult for the United States government to ensure that terrorists don’t take advantage of the program.
“If you’re going to grant somebody a visa or allow a student to come from Libya, you’re counting on the host nation to do some of that vetting,” he says.
“You don’t know who they have been or what their ties and allegiance are, other than they’re from Libya,” he notes.