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President Obama relaxes Libya anti-terrorism rules

Apparently President Obama doesn’t remember that just a few short years ago Al-Qaeda terrorists killed four Americans in Benghazi, Libya as his Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced that, “The United States Government and the Government of Libya have normalized their relationship, and most of the restrictions and sanctions imposed by the United States and the United Nations toward Libya have been lifted.”

WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 04: Prime Minister of Libya Abdullah al-Thinni (L) and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (R) make remarks to members of the media before a bilateral meeting during the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit at the Department of State August 4
WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 04: Prime Minister of Libya Abdullah al-Thinni (L) and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (R) make remarks to members of the media before a bilateral meeting during the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit at the Department of State August 4Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

The document released by DHS states that, “DHS, after consultation with the Department of State and the Department of Defense, is considering rescinding the restrictions that deny nonimmigrant status and benefits to a specific group of Libyan nationals.”

If you’re thinking, “Well the White House can’t police the entire government,” think again. It was by White House decree that the DHS was directed to review Libyan policy, “to see how they might be updated to better align with U.S. interests in light of its revolution.”

The sanctions included a ban on training Libyan nationals on airplane operations and nuclear technology. The ban was put into place by President Reagan in 1983 following several terrorist attacks launched by Libyan agents, including the bombing of Pan American Airways Flight 103 that exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland.

Why would President Obama make such a change in U.S. policy less than two years after al-Qaeda-affiliated Libyan terrorists attacked the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and murdered four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens? In fact President Obama ordered the review of U.S. – Libyan policy in the midst of congressional hearings that have been stonewalled by his administration at every turn.

The Obama administration directive claims the ban is no longer needed because the relationship between the United States and Libya is now “normalized.”

Is no one awake in government wheelhouse? Only three weeks ago the State Department ordered the immediate evacuation of all U.S. embassy personnel under heavily armed escort and cover from U.S. warplanes due to the chaos, lawlessness, and growing anarchy sweeping Libya.

State Department spokesperson Marie Harf told reporters on July 26, 2014, "Due to the ongoing violence resulting from clashes between Libyan militias in the vicinity of the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, we have relocated all of our personnel out of Libya." Several other Western nations followed suit and evacuated their nationals from Libya to escape the escalating violence.

This, apparently, is President Obama’s new normal.

Reaction from Congress has been marked by anger with many voicing complete disbelief in the incompetence of this administration. House Judiciary Committee member Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) said, “It is unbelievable that this administration is willing to put Americans in harm’s way by lifting a decades-old security ban on a country challenged by instability. This makes no sense. None.”

Other members of Congress pointed out that since Libya is, for all intents and purposes, both anarchic and ungoverned, relations between the U.S. and Libya and despite President Obama’s myopic view, are anything but normal, and Libyans, many of whom fight for scores of jihadist militias roaming the country, pose a serious threat to the U.S. if permitted to study aviation and nuclear sciences.

Committee Chairman Robert Goodlatte, (R-VA) said, “Given the ongoing volatility in Libya, it is unconscionable and completely irresponsible that the administration plans to lift a longstanding policy that protects Americans and our national security from threats in the region.”

Though only two years remain in President Obama’s tenure, it is very likely that the damage and risks to the nation will take years to repair.