Although State Department and Defense officials are now on the ground in Nigeria, helping gather intelligence and train Nigerian forces in hostage negotiations, it’s unclear whether the Nigerian military is capable of using any of that to act. Friend told Menendez at Thursday’s Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on terrorist group Boko Haram that she could not speculate on the Nigerian military’s readiness.
But the Democratic senator from New Jersey pressed on.
“It is impossible to fathom that we might actually have actionable intelligence and that we would not have the wherewithal either by the Nigerians themselves or by other entities helping the Nigerians to be able to conduct a rescue mission. And so all of this would be worthless,” Menendez said, instructing Friend to return to the committee with that information at a future date. “We’re not going to wait until we find out that we have actionable intelligence and then find out that we don’t have the capacity to do this.”
“I’d be happy to come back to you with that information, sir,” Friend replied.
“Jesus,” Menendez sighed, pulling away from the microphone.