Over three years after the international terrorist, Osama Bin Laden, was killed by the United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group and Central Intelligence Agency, the US has still not declassified letters linking the terrorist to Nigeria’s Boko Haram, a US-based newspaper report has indicated.
The newspaper, The Daily Beast, quoted some US intelligence analysts as saying al-Qeda experts in America had been critical of releasing the full information they got on the late terrorist.
Part of the report read, “Many US al-Qaeda experts inside the intelligence community are also critical of the handling of the documents taken from Osama bin Laden’s Pakistani lair.
“These experts lobbied to declassify many more than the handful that have thus far been released. Some of those documents that were initially slated to be declassified, according to two US intelligence officials, were letters between leaders of Boko Haram and bin Laden.
“In other words, they showed that the Nigerian terror group, now infamous for its mass kidnappings, was tied to al-Qaeda’s leader. Those records are still being kept under wraps. Mr. Devin Nunes, a Republican on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, has openly called on the Obama administration to declassify all of the documents.”
The report quoted US al-Qaeda experts inside the intelligence community as saying that as the strength of alQeda continued to decline, other threats evolved and other extremists expanded in different parts of the world, including Nigeria.
The newspaper quoted Tommy Vietor, who served as the spokesman for the National Security Council in Obama’s first term, as saying that during a meeting he attended with Obama on the crisis in Mali, the US President said the threat from al-Qaeda’s core leadership had diminished, while the threat of affiliates had grown stronger.
At the end of the meeting though, he said the President remarked, “What will be required for a crisis like that is not a drone-based program dotting the continent. It will be a sustained political process that includes economic development.”
However, in a report by The PUNCH on Tuesday, the US government said Boko Haram was not a branch of al-Qaeda.
A statement by the US Consul General in Lagos quoted the US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Wendy Sherman, as saying, “Boko Haram is its own terrorist group, and the US has designated Boko Haram as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation. In this day and age, there is probably no terror group that does not have some links somehow, even if tenuous, to some other organisations. But for the most part, we treat Boko Haram as its own terror organisation.”