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Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Topic - Edward R. Royce
U.S. authorities officially has designated the shadowy Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram as a terrorist organization, ending what has been a heated debate in the past year within the State Department on the status of the group, which is believed to have ties to al Qaeda affiliates in Africa.
The chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs is accusing Treasury Secretary Jack Lew of "severely" threatening U.S. national security by suspending "nearly all" of the staff that tracks the enforcement of sanctions against Iran's suspected nuclear weapons program.
Congress' role in approving military strikes kicks off Tuesday when Secretary of State John F. Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will tell senators that the U.S. must strike at the Syrian regime to make clear that chemical weapons use will not be tolerated.
The al Qaeda threat that closed 22 U.S. diplomatic posts Sunday followed intense efforts in Washington to increase security at embassies in danger spots around the world, nearly a year after the deadly terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya.
President Obama is under pressure from members of Congress, human rights groups and union leaders to demand an end to the suppression of human rights in Vietnam when he meets with the leader of the Southeast Asian nation at the White House on Thursday.
As the hour grew late on the night of Sept. 14, the White House wanted to make one thing clear to the State Department and the CIA as the three collaborated on what would come to be known as the Benghazi "talking points," designed to be used by Congress and administration officials to explain what had happened three days earlier at the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya.
On June 18 and 19, the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate overwhelmingly passed bills directing the secretary of state to develop a strategy to help Taiwan obtain observer status at the International Civil Aviation Organization Assembly, the governing body of the U.N.-affiliated organization.
Iran is not supporting active terrorist cells in the Western Hemisphere, according to a State Department report set to be released this week that is likely to ignite a major battle with Capitol Hill.
The chairman of a key House committee on Thursday demanded that the State Department's office of inspector general explain passages in internal documents that refer to pressure from department higher-ups to quash investigations into suspected criminal activity — including the solicitation of prostitutes, illegal drug activity and sexual assault — by U.S. diplomatic personnel overseas.
Amid pressure from Congress to get tougher on Iran, the White House expanded U.S. sanctions on the Islamic republic on Monday, giving broad powers to U.S. authorities to begin targeting the Iranian automotive industry — as well as those found purchasing or selling large amounts of Iranian currency in foreign banks.
Republicans on the House Foreign Affairs Committee are calling on Secretary of State John F. Kerry to "detail what personnel actions" the State Department has taken following security failures in the deadly attack on the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya.
The House and Senate this week advanced bills to broaden sanctions against Iran because of its suspected nuclear weapons program and continued abuse of human rights, as the theocratic regime in Tehran took steps to manipulate its June 14 presidential election.
A key House panel pushed through legislation Wednesday calling on the Obama administration to significantly broaden U.S. sanctions on Iran, just as the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency released a report saying the Islamic republic's nuclear program had made measurable advances.
The chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee is faulting a flawed bureaucratic system for the State Department's failure to blame top U.S. officials for ignoring pleas for more security before the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya.
The White House accused Republicans of a political distraction Wednesday after House committee chairmen asked President Obama to release a State Department cable that they said would prove Hillary Rodham Clinton, as secretary off state, signed off on security cuts at the diplomatic post in Benghazi ahead of the attack Sept. 11.
Mr. Royce stressed the nation's security interest in seeing a stable Nigeria.
"Designation as a Foreign Terrorist Organization will allow U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies the necessary authority to freeze Boko Haram's assets and to stop entities providing support to the organization," he said.