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Thursday, October 18, 2018

MEF uncovers Obama-era scandal; Congress investigates

An investigative report by the Middle East Forum (MEF) has prompted the US House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to initiate an investigation into a 2014 decision by the Obama administration.

In 2004 the U.S. Treasury Department listed a Sudanese organization-- the Islamic Relief Agency (ISRA, aka the Islamic Africa Relief Agency)-- a “Specially-Designated Terrorist Organization”. It did so because ISRA provided "direct financial support" to Osama bin Laden; "was responsible for moving funds to the Palestinian territories for use in terrorist activities"; and “serve[s] as a conduit to Hamas.”

The Forum’s Sam Westrop exposed in National Review that in 2014, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) approved a $200,000 grant to the Islamic Relief Agency (ISRA) in Sudan through World Vision, Inc.

The project was temporarily suspended in November 2014 after USAID and the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) were alerted to ISRA’s terror links.

However, even after confirming ISRA’s status as a sanctioned entity, OFAC nonetheless authorized a $125,000 transfer to ISRA in May 2015, after “close collaboration and consultations with the Department of State.”

The Forum’s findings resulted from a successful Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against USAID, countless hours poring through documents, and working with an investigator in Khartoum.

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