"Everyone is committed to taking on violent extremism in Africa. There is a healthy debate in the administration about how best to counter the threat in the region."
Ham said Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) raises most concern. It's also called "the Salafist Group for Call and Combat." Other regional groups include "the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa."
"It is clear to me they aspire to conduct events more broadly across the region, and eventually to the United States," claimed Ham.
"That is the ideology. That is the campaign plan. Establish the caliphate and spread the ideology. Attack Western interests. Attack democrat forms of government. We are certainly seeing it."
It's hard imagining anyone with command or lower authority saying these things with a straight face. America's only enemies are ones it invents.
Real ones haven't existed since Japan formally surrendered in August 1945. America waged permanent direct and/or proxy wars from then to now.
Multiple ones followed September 14, 2001 congressional Authorization for Use of Military Force. Some analysts believe it permits attacking any nation or group administration officials say have terrorist links.
Al Qaeda and groups with close ties are mentioned most often. Claiming it, of course, doesn't mean it's so. ACLU senior legislative council, Christopher Anders, expressed grave concerns. He calls another authorization for force alarming.
"This is the kind of thing that Americans could end up regretting," he said. "We could end up in another decade long war if this crazy idea isn't stopped."
Obama and administration hardliners want complete freedom to invent whatever pretexts they wish to keep waging permanent wars.
Some congressional members feel the same way. An unnamed aide to one said:
"You can make a plausible case that (new threats are) in gestation and therefore we need to act now decisively to deal with (them)."
Nigeria is also mentioned. America and the IMF stoke internal violence. Western oil giants largely control its energy resources.
China made inroads with exploration and infrastructure deals. It wants more. It puts Beijing at odds with Washington and other Western interests.