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National review

The Senate investigation finds that the Obama administrator deliberately funded al-Qaeda-linked companies

Non-profit humanitarian agency World Vision United States acted inappropriately with the Islamic Aid Agency (ISRA) in 201

4 with the approval of the Obama administration, sending state funds to an organization that had been sanctioned over its ties to terrorism, according to a new report. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) recently released a report describing the findings of a survey his staff began in February 2019 on the relationship between World Vision and ISRA. The probe found that World Vision was unaware that ISRA had been sanctioned by the United States since 2004 after withdrawing around $ 5 million to Maktab al-Khidamat, the predecessor of Al-Qaeda controlled by Osama Bid Laden. However, that ignorance was born of inadequate assessment practices, the report says: “World Vision works to help people in need around the world, and that work is admirable,” Grassley said in a statement. “Even though it may not have known that ISRA was on the sanctions list or that it was listed because of its connection to terrorism, it should have done so. Ignorance can not be enough as an excuse. World Vision’s changes in practice are a good first step, and I look forward to continued progress. The investigation was triggered by an article from the National Review in July 2018 in which Sam Westrop, the director of the Middle East Forum’s Islamist watch, detailed the MEF’s findings that the Obama administration had approved a “$ 200,000 grant of taxpayer money to ISRA.” Government authorities specifically authorized the release of “at least $ 115,000” of this grant, even after learning that it was a designated terrorist organization, Westrop wrote. According to the Senate report, World Vision submitted a grant application to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to implement its Blue Nile Recovery Program on January 21, 2014. The proposed program sought to provide food security, sanitation and health services to areas that are hard hit by conflict in the Blue Nile region of Sudan.USAID awarded World Vision a scholarship of $ 723,405 to the program. Next month, ISRA agreed to provide humanitarian services to parts of the Blue Nile Region for World Vision, according to the report. The two organizations had also collaborated on several projects in 2013 and 2014. World Vision only discovered that ISRA was sanctioned after the evangelical humanitarian non-profit organization discussed cooperation with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) on a separate humanitarian project in Sudan. IOM discovered a routine survey of World Vision and its partners, IOM discovered ISRA’s sanctioned status and reached out to the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) Compliance Team to confirm. After receiving confirmation from OFAC, IOM World Vision rejected its offer to cooperate, the World Vision Legal Department was notified of ISRA’s potential status as a sanctioned entity in September 2014 and immediately stopped all payments to the organization while it investigated. The non-profit organization sent a letter to OFAC on 19 November 2014 asking for clarification. regarding ISRA’s status, and request that in the event ISRA was sanctioned, a temporary license was granted to complete the organizations’ existing contract. Two months later, the Treasury responded, confirming that ISRA had been sanctioned and denied the license request to work with the organization, as it would be “contrary to OFAC policy.” One month later, World Vision submitted a new license request to make transactions with ISRA to pay them $ 125,000 for services rendered, in order not to have legal consequences and potential deportation from Sudan. On May 4, 2015, the Obama administration’s State Department recommended OFAC to grant World Vision’s license request to conduct transactions. The next day, OFAC licensed ISRA to pay $ 125,000 for services rendered, and later sent the nonprofit a “warning letter” announcing that cooperation with ISRA appeared to have violated Global Terrorism Sanction Regulations. The investigation “found no evidence that World Vision was deliberately trying to circumvent US sanctions by entering into a partnership with ISRA.” “We also found no evidence that World Vision knew that ISRA was a sanctioned entity before we were notified by the Treasury,” the report adds. “Based on the evidence presented, however, we conclude that World Vision had access to relevant public information and should have known how, but failed to, properly veterinarian ISRA as a subordinate, resulting in the transfer of US taxpayer dollars to an organization. with a comprehensive history of supporting terrorist organization [sic] and terrorists, including Osama Bin Laden. The report calls the World Vision system for investigating potential subordinates “boundless negligence” and says the organization “ignored basic investigation procedures”. World Vision spent several weeks after being informed by the IOM of ISRA’s sanction status. examined the claim and failed to reach a conclusion, depending on “what could only be described as wrong logic,” the report said. The report accuses World Vision of trying to avoid the blame, noting that the IOM “was able to quickly cultivate ISRAs and determine their status as a sanctioned entity.” “World Vision had used the same due diligence and similar methods used by the IOM “Taxpayers’ dollars would not change hands with an organization known for funding terrorist organizations,” it said. While World Vision has introduced additional screening methods, “Finance Committee employees have reservations” about the ability to avoid similar situations in the future, the report said. “World Vision has a duty to ensure that funds acquired from the U.S. government or donated by the United States do not end up supporting terrorist activity,” it said. “Particularly regarding this committee is World Vision’s attempt to transfer the blame to the federal government. for their own inability to direct the veterinarian to a subcontractor. A more robust and fundamentally sound screening and control system is required to restore public confidence that contributions to World Vision do not fund illegal organizations. Moreover, we find no reason to doubt World Vision’s assertion that the funds in their entirety. was used by ISRA for humanitarian purposes, that money inevitably helps their terrorist activities, “it concludes. World Vision said in a statement that they” take our commitment seriously and share Senator Grassley and the committee’s staff’s goal of good governance. “” We appreciate the recognition that the committee’s staff report to the chairman of the board found no evidence that World Vision knew that ISRA was a sanctioned entity before receiving notification from the Treasury, “it added. “Terrorism goes against everything World Vision stands for as an organization, and we strongly condemn any act of terrorism or support for such activities.”


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