Three House Republicans on Monday slammed the Obama administration for approving a final rule that would lift a decades-old ban on Libyans’ access to aviation and nuclear training facilities in the United States.
That ban was put in place in the early 1980s after several terrorist incidents involving Libyans. The Office of Management and Budget says it can now be lifted because the U.S. and 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.”
But House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and other GOP lawmakers said the decision ignores the attack on the U.S. embassy in Libya in 2012, which resulted in the death of four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador.
“Just weeks ago, Americans working at the U.S. embassy in Tripoli were evacuated due to rival rebel groups battling each other for control of the area,” Goodlatte said. “And less than two years ago, the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was attacked by terrorists, leaving four Americans killed.”
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) said the 2012 attack in Benghazi shows that the situation in Libya has not “normalized” at all.
Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) added that Obama administration officials have yet to provide Congress with a detailed justification for the rule change.
“Is post-revolutionary Libya secure enough to change the rules? Why now?” he asked. “What evidence does the Administration have to assert the relationship between Libya and the US has indeed normalized?”
“It is extremely concerning that DHS is moving forward with these plans, but has not provided information on the policy change despite repeated requests from members,” he added.