Chaffetz, Goodlatte, Issa and Gowdy Demand DHS to Come Clean on Libya Policy Reversal

Mar 19, 2014

Washington, D.C. – House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), and National Security Subcommittee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) today sent a follow up letter to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson demanding information about the Obama Administration’s misguided and dangerous plan 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. 

After 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, Chairman Goodlatte and Congressman Chaffetz wrote to then-DHS Acting Secretary Rand Beers last November about this proposed policy. However, to date the Department has failed to respond and has moved forward with this proposed policy without disclosing information about it to Congress. The letter sent today states that the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s Subcommittee on National Security will convene a joint hearing on this issue in the immediate future.

Below are excerpts from the letter. To read the entire letter, click here.

“We write this letter as a follow up to a letter sent on November 25, 2013 … We raised concerns [about the Administration’s proposed policy], as, clearly, the U.S. relationship with Libya is anything but normal, as evidenced by the September 11th assault on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya and horrific murder of our ambassador to that country over year ago. Not only did four Americans die on that date, but, as we previously documented, numerous other terror threats have continued from Libya in recent months.

“Since November 25, 2013, House Judiciary Committee staff has contacted DHS over half a dozen times to determine the status of our inquiry … According to [a DHS memo], you expect ‘the Department to respond to Congress in a direct, courteous, and timely manner’ … Yet the letter we sent to DHS remains unanswered … Of even greater concern, we have learned that DHS already has moved forward with this regulation and sent it to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review.  DHS moved forward with the rule after we requested and did not receive information from DHS … While this rule is in the final stages of review prior to publication, the Administration continues to ignore Congressional inquiries.      

“In light of the continued national security threat to America, we find the planned policy reversal to be dangerous and irresponsible.  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 September 11, 2001 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.

“We will convene a joint hearing between the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s Subcommittee on National Security in the immediate future to determine the status of the rule and the impetus behind it.  DHS will be called to testify in order to respond to Congress since it has failed to do so as of the date of this letter.”

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