The Justice Department, the F.B.I., American intelligence officials and counterterrorism officials in the State Department favored the designation because of Boko Haram’s role in the growing violence in Nigeria and because of intelligence reports that some of its members had links to Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.The politics of terrorism. That's what this is really about.
But Johnnie Carson, who was the assistant secretary of state for African affairs from 2009 to 2013, said in an interview on Thursday that he had opposed making the designation “for six or seven different reasons.”
Mr. Carson said he was concerned that the move would generate publicity for the group and help it attract support from other extremists. He said he was also worried that the designation might legitimize a heavy-handed crackdown by Nigeria’s security forces at a time when American officials were urging them to avoid human rights abuses.
Daniel Benjamin, the State Department’s counterterrorism official from 2009 to 2012, said the delay had not impeded efforts to work with the Nigerians. “Designation was one of many tools and not the most urgently needed one in dealing with the Nigerians,” Mr. Benjamin said in a telephone interview. “What was more important was strong engagement in the areas of law enforcement and counterterrorism.”[my underlines]