House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Oversight and Government Reform National Security Subcommittee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) today sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Acting Secretary Rand Beers demanding more information about the Obama Administration's plans to lift a longstanding prohibition on Libyans coming to the U.S. to attend flight school, to work in aviation maintenance or flight operations, or to study or seek training in nuclear science. The letter asks that the Department provide answers to the Committee's questions by December 16, 2013. Last month, the House Judiciary Committee obtained an internal draft final regulation from a DHS source that outlines the Obama Administration's proposal to change its policy towards Libya.
This prohibition was originally put in place in the 1980s after the wave of terrorist incidents involving Libyans. The Administration justifies lifting this ban by claiming the United States' relationship with Libya has since improved. However, the terror threat continues and numerous news reports document recent terror-related stories coming from Libya. And just over a year ago the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi was attacked, which resulted in the deaths of four Americans.
Below are excerpts from the letter.
"We find it alarming that the draft regulation, which we understand is presently being circulated within DHS, goes on at length to discuss the manner in which relations with Libya have improved and are now "normalized,' but fails to make any mention whatsoever of the terrorist attack in Libya on September 11, 2012. We must not forget that just over a year ago, the U.S. compound in Benghazi was attacked, which resulted in the murder of four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens. Ignoring this event in a draft regulation that deals squarely with the threat of terror from Libyan nationals will not change the fact that it occurred, nor will it do anything to address the safety of Americans
"In light of the continued national security threat to America, we find the planned policy reversal to be outright dangerous. The decision to lift the ban on allowing nationals of such a terror-plagued country to come to the U.S. to engage in flight-related training is particularly disturbing in light of the role such training played in the preparations for the 9-11 terror attacks. Further, lifting the ban on Libyan nationals to come to the U.S. to study nuclear science and related fields is incomprehensible in light of the peril the U.S. and its allies in the Near East face from the potential acquisition of nuclear weapons technology by terrorists or hostile nations in the region."
Read full letter in PDF format below: