King: No negotiations for kidnapped girls

Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.) late Monday said the United States shouldn’t negotiate with the terrorist group Boko Haram, which kidnapped about 300 schoolgirls in Nigeria last month.

“This is one of those terribly difficult decisions, morally difficult, but I would say, no, we cannot negotiate. If it were my daughter, wife or sister, I realize the human impact. But the fact is, once you start negotiating with terrorists, it would lead to more violence and kidnappings,” King said on CNN’s “Erin Burnett Outfront."

The Obama administration has said no Special Forces or boots on the ground would be used to rescue the girls. King agreed that's not the best scenario, but said he would be open to it if Obama gives the green light. 

“I don't want to advocate the use of troops. If the president decided to use Special Forces, I certainly would not oppose them,” said King, who previously served as chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.

King clarified that he’s not urging Obama to authorize such a mission, but would support him if he made that decision. 

The congressman is among a number of lawmakers who have blamed former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for not designating Boko Haram as a terrorist group. Secretary of State John Kerry approved that designation last year. 

“I give Secretary Kerry credit for doing it in 2013,” King said.

His comments come as the U.S. has stepped up its efforts to find the missing schoolgirls. The U.S. is currently providing surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft to Nigeria. 

The White House said Monday that the U.S. team consists of nearly 30 people from the State and Defense departments, and the FBI.

Members of Boko Haram kidnapped the girls in April, and only a small group of them have since escaped.

A video that surfaced Monday showed the group’s leader claiming responsibility for the kidnapping and offering to set the girls free in exchange for the release of prisoners. 

At least 100 of the girls were seen in the video wearing hijabs and reciting Muslim prayers.