Why Does the Obama Administration Want to Train Libyans in the U.S. on Airplanes and Nuclear Energy?

Just over 13 months since the Benghazi terrorist attack, the Department of Homeland Security is considering allowing Libyans to be trained in the U.S. on planes and in nuclear science, according to an internal department memo citing normalized relations with the new Libyan government.

“The Department of Homeland Security is amending its regulations by rescinding the regulatory provisions promulgated in 1983 that terminated the nonimmigrant status and barred granting certain immigration benefits to Libyan nationals and foreign nationals acting on behalf Libyan entities who are engaging in or seeking to obtain studies or training in aviation maintenance, flight operations or nuclear related fields,” the draft memo says.

Goodlatte Judiciary Chairman
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va. listen on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 18, 2013. (AP)

The 1980s prohibition was established after a wave terrorist attacks against Americans led by the regime of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi, who was deposed and killed in 2011.

A DHS official told TheBlaze the “document is deliberative and not final, and has not been approved.” The internal draft has no date and bears the name of Janet Napolitano, who left the position as Homeland Security secretary in June. It makes no mention of the Benghazi terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2012 that killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens.

The 11-page memo said the Department of Defense would carry out much of this training. The draft — obtained by Reps. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), and Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who object to rescinding the rule referred to as 8 CFR 214.5. Despite likely controversy, the draft memo also said there would be no need for public comment.

“Normally an agency would publish a notice of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register providing interested persons the opportunity to comment,” the draft memo says. It continued saying “DHS is of the opinion that removal of the 8 CFR 214.5 is exempt” from this requirement.

Goodlatte, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, believes this policy could put Americans in danger.

“Just over a year ago, four Americans were killed in the pre-planned terrorist attacks on the American consulate in Benghazi,” Goodlatte said in a statement. “We still haven’t gotten to the bottom of the Benghazi terrorist attacks and continue to face additional terrorist threats from Libya, yet the Obama Administration is preparing to lift a longstanding ban that protects Americans and our interests.”

This is only a consideration right now, a DHS official said.

“The United States supports the aspirations of the Libyan people as they participate in their democratic transition after 42 years of dictatorship,” the DHS official told TheBlaze in an email response. “We are committed to working with Libya to build its sovereign institutions and are working closely with the government to bring stability to Libya.”

“As part of this effort, we are reviewing U.S. policies that have been in place since before the Libyan revolution to see how they might be updated to better align with U.S. interests,” the official continued. “This draft document is deliberative and not final, and has not been approved by DHS for publication. DHS does not comment on internal draft documents.”

The draft memo explains that the training would be done in cooperation with the U.S. Defense Department.

“The Libyan government has expressed initial interest in sending student to the United States to receive training and education from DOD on tactics that will allow them to reconstitute, operate and sustain their fleet,” the draft memo says. “These tactics include aviation maintenance, flight operations and nuclear-related studies. Removal of the regulation would permit the DOD to provide these educational and military exchanges to Libyan citizens on a case-by-case basis.”

The draft memo later says, “After consulting with DOD and DOS [Department of State], DHS has determined that maintaining this regulation would no longer reflect current U.S. government policy towards Libya. Moreover, its continued existence would significantly hamper the growing relationship between the two countries.”

Chaffetz, a member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that has been investigating the Benghazi, did not oppose the idea of working with Libya, but believes changing this policy is risky.

“In the weeks and months leading up to the attacks in Benghazi, the Obama Administration ignored looming terrorist threats,” Chaffetz said in a statement. “It is unbelievable that this administration would again put Americans in harm’s way by lifting a decades old security ban on a country that has become a hotbed of terrorist activity. We must work with the Libyans to build mutual trust that ensures safety and prosperity for both countries to enjoy.”