Scott Brown Doesn’t Know Much About Boko Haram, Either

Apparently, the Affordable Care Act is not the only subject on which Scott Brown cannot explain himself. While in Las Vegas hanging with super-rich hedge fund managers, the once-and-possibly-future Senator took a swipe at his rival, Senator Jeanne Shaheen, on Twitter. He accused her of failing to support his alleged effort in 2012 to designate Boko Haram, the group responsible for the kidnapping of nearly 300 schoolgirls in Nigeria, as a terrorist organization.

Brown was piggybacking on a national effort by the Republican Party to blame former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the kidnappings, and his tweet leaves the impression that the Obama administration has been entirely inattentive to the danger that he, with the prescience that comes with extreme superficiality, foresaw. Shaheen is presumably blameworthy because, as a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, she ignored his warning and allowed his bill to die. (By that logic, so did Committee members Marco Rubio and John McCain, among others).

Surprise – Brown’s comment is inaccurate on both counts. And to get back at Boko Haram (the English translation of that Hausa language term is “western education is forbidden”), here’s some western education about his charge.

The bill Senator Brown filed would not have labelled Boko Haram as a terrorist organization but instead, to quote the press release he issued at the time, would have required the State Department to determine if Boko Haram “meets the necessary criteria to be designated a Foreign Terrorist Organization.”

And the “why no action” part of Brown’s tweet? One of the likely reasons that Brown’s bill died a quick death is that, shortly he filed it, the State Department, already involved in investigating the organization, named three Boko Haram leaders as foreign terrorists, which froze any assets they might have in the U.S. and barred U.S. citizens from having interactions with them. Senator Brown issued no press release in response to that State Department decision, nor did he comment the following year when Boko Haram was designated a terrorist organization.

The Boston Globe charitably described Brown’s criticism of Senator Shaheen as “veiled.” “Baseless” would not have been a bad choice, either.

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