OTR Interviews

What Boko Haram's formal allegiance to ISIS really means

The impact of Boko Haram and ISIS apparently teaming up and how the US must adapt

 

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," March 9, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: This is no surprise. Who didn't expect this?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VAN SUSTEREN: More disturbing is news, a new report says ISIS and Boko Haram could end up teaming up. Is that really possible?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, that was almost two weeks ago. And now it's official, Boko Haram and ISIS officially teaming up.

Congressman Adam Kinzinger joins us. Good evening, sir.

REP. ADAM KINZINGER, R-ILL.: Hey, thanks for having me. I appreciate it, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I guess two weeks ago we didn't think it was going to be a big surprise and now the big -- the news. What does this mean? ISIS and Boko Haram teaming up.

KINZINGER: Well, look, I don't want to overestimate this and overinflate what this means. Boko Haram has existed. They have been a very brutal terror network, kidnapping girls, murdering people. They are going to continue to do that whether they align themselves under ISIS or not.

But what we are seeing here, which I think is the bigger frightening picture, you are seeing alignment of different radical groups, whether it's al Qaeda, ISIS, Boko Haram and lesser known groups in Libya and stuff like that, beginning to align themselves under one jihadist umbrella. Same spiritual leaders and everything else with that what I have said and I have been saying this for a while. When ISIS has momentum, you are going to have easier time recruiting people. You are going to have easier time bringing other groups under your umbrella. That's why stopping the momentum of ISIS, killing ISIS members where they exist, and rolling them back from territory they have is so important. As I said, everybody is a fan of a certain sports team when they're doing well. When that team is not doing well, it's hard to recruit new fans.

VAN SUSTEREN: To me, this is like one of our worst nightmares because I think what it does is it grows, it gives them so much -- empowers both groups so much. I think this is just horrible.

KINZINGER: Yeah.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is this something though that was inevitable or could we have prevented this?

KINZINGER: Oh, I think we could have prevented this. Again, every group, whether it's Boko Haram, whether it's ISIS, whether it's al Qaeda, every group wants to survive and kind of take over the jihadist leadership role. In the case in the last few years, many of those have been competing for that role. Some cases they fight each other. They put out competing press releases in essence against each other. Now what you are see something ISIS has taken the mantel of Islamic jihadist extremists as the Islamic jihadist group to be part of. So now all these groups are falling in line under it. So you have common leadership and everything else. This is brutal and, frankly, terrible.

VAN SUSTEREN: Congressman, what have we been doing about Boko Haram, it's not like a big secret. The last I noticed, at best people holding up signs with the #bringbackourgirls last April. They still aren't back. What exactly what have we been doing to prevent the atrocities and spreading of Boko Haram in North Africa.

KINZINGER: I'm sure there is some level of things we can't talk about on different factions but I don't think enough. I mean --

(CROSSTALK)

VAN SUSTEREN: Like what?

KINZINGER: The reality is this.

VAN SUSTEREN: Like --

(CROSSTALK)

VAN SUSTEREN: Use your imagination. What are we doing to fight Boko Haram and now they have teamed up with ISIS?

KINZINGER: Well, there could be some intelligence assets operating and things like that. But I don't think it's enough. I think the president needs to make a declarative statement that if you are Islamic jihadist, if you are extremist, if you are a terrorist, it doesn't matter whether you are in Africa or Europe or the Middle East, wherever you exist, understand that that will either put you in jail if you are in Europe or it's going to mean the end of your life if you are in one of these other countries.

Now that Boko Haram has joined ISIS, guess what, Boko Haram has the same target on their back that ISIS has in Syria and Iraq. It's posh for the president to show strong leadership. I'm not going to hold my breath for it. I don't want to take away the fact that he's doing some things. He is. But we've got to be doing a lot more because this threat is going to continue to grow unless we do that.

VAN SUSTEREN: It's grown so much that now we have got two of the most vicious two groups teaming up and using similar tactics. Boko Haram learning media tactics from ISIS, which is just unthinkable.

Congressman, thank you, sir.

KINZINGER: Yeah, thanks, Greta. Thanks for having me.