Merchant of Death
Money, Guns, Planes, and the Man Who Makes War Possible

Blood from Stones

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Press Releases

USAID Money Could be Helping Terrorists
The Chicago Tribune today brings word that USAID, purveyor of billions of dollars in aid around the world, cannot insure the money does not go to terrorist organizations.

It is hard to believe that six years after 9/11, with the amply-documented propensity for terrorist groups to use charities to fund their activities, that the agency:

_cannot "reasonably ensure" that its money does not wind up in terrorist hands, an internal audit has concluded._

The review found that AID had, in fact, funded terrorist-affiliated groups on two occasions, and that, despite operating in countries where terrorism is a major concern, "USAID has not developed or instituted a worldwide anti-terrorism program."

_USAID risks providing funding or other material support and resources to terrorists or terrorist organizations."_

It does seem incredible to me that this was not a high-priority issue over the past six years. The 9/11 report and countless others have identified the ability of radical Islamists to use aid money to further their own ends.

This is not to say that aid should be cut off. I am a firm believer that the right kind of foreign aid, properly channeled, can be a huge help, both on humanitarian grounds and to help combat radical Islam and other ideological threats.

But the grants are not just grants, and that is why they must be taken seriously, and seriously vetted.

Not only is this money our tax dollars, but those receiving them are legitimized by the process. And the grantees are often then on a fast track for visas and access to other U.S.-funded programs.

The audit found that USAID in 1999 started to set up a more comprehensive vetting process, but staff departures and turnovers kept the process from being completed.

The audit was requested following a Washington Times story in March that USAID had supported the Hamas-linked Islamic University, where Palestinian security forces had recently arrested five Iranians who were allegedly making rockets and explosives. The aid was given in spite of what a State Department spokesman called a "careful vetting process."

Two other cases of funding terrorists are outlined in the story.

There is often a tendency to believe that identifying the problem (CIFIUS, visa control, border control etc.) is somehow the same as taking corrective action. The notion in government seems to often be that if we can talk about the problem, then the problem has been solved or at least mitigated.

Unfortunately, that is not true. And the longer we fail to take serious steps, the more serious the damage will be.

In Some Ways, the Crux of the Matter
The Criminal-Terrorist Pipeline to the United States
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