From Plan for Terror Screening of Aid Groups Cut Drastically by Walter Pincus, Washington Post Staff Writer, Thursday, August 30, 2007:
The Bush administration has decided to sharply scale back its plan to screen U.S. foreign aid contractors around the globe for potential terrorism connections, deciding instead to begin with a pilot program involving aid recipients in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip before expanding it worldwide.
That makes perfect sense to me. We're not going to be careful who gets into our country, or who is allowed to stay, why should we care about who gets our tax dollars?
At least El Presidente Jorge Arbusto is consistent!
(For my foreign readers, and others, who may not know: "Jorge Arbusto" is Spanish for George Bush.)
The decision, announced Tuesday at a meeting of U.S. officials and representatives of nonprofit groups, was made after lawmakers and several large aid organizations said that the global screening requirements were onerous and unwarranted. An official of the U.S. Agency for International Development had earlier promised to defer the program, which initially was to have taken effect Monday.
The global screening program, initially described in a July 17 Federal Register notice, would have required that all nongovernmental organizations seeking funds from the agency provide detailed information about key personnel, including phone numbers, birth dates and e-mail addresses.
That's the difference between those who have to pay money to the US Government, and those who receive money from the US Government: when you go to file your tax return next year, just try to file it without giving your birth date and your telephone number. Try it, and see what happens!
That information was to have been reviewed by intelligence and law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, to ensure that there were no connections with individuals or groups associated with terrorism or threats to national security. It would have affected thousands of individuals in nonprofit groups, charities, religious organizations, colleges, universities and private corporations.
Now, it might make sense that some charities would not have to jump through these hoops; but, then we would be accused of profiling and Islamophobia if we only collected this data on the charities that might most logically be connected to terrorism.
Besides that, there are still the ETA, the IRA and other organizations out there.
Still, if you're getting free money from US taxpayers, why not have to provide your email address? If you get an email from a government investigator asking whether you spent US taxpayer dollars on terrorist activities, just delete it! That's what we do with spam!
At the presentation Tuesday, USAID officials said they would initially carry out a "pilot vetting program" with recipients of grants and contracts in the West Bank and Gaza, according to materials presented at the meeting and made available to The Post by a contractor organization on the condition that it not be identified.
West Bank and Gaza -- not a bad place to start.
While awaiting results from the pilot program, the administration will review comments it receives through the end of next month and seek input from Congress and the foreign aid fund community, the officials said.
Would anyone care to contact our elected officials?
Remember them on election day, too.
The global vetting idea grew out of a congressional amendment in 2003 that required the secretary of state to "take all appropriate steps" to ensure that U.S. funds in the West Bank and Gaza do not reach any person or group that "advocates, plans, sponsors, engages in or has engaged in terrorist activities."
They should have done this decades ago, when terrorism and giving away US money both first got popular!
At the very least, they should have started that on September 12, 2001.
Just more proof that it's our money, and not their money. If it were their money, they'd be taking care of it.
A subsequent Government Accountability Office report criticized USAID's implementation of that program. Also pushing USAID to take action, according to its Tuesday presentation, was a recent report by Palestinian Media Watch, an Israel-based organization, that Al-Quds Open University -- a U.S. aid recipient -- "hosts branches of the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror organizations."
The organization said the university had received in $100,000 in 2006 in "in-kind" aid from USAID, and it also complained that USAID planned to provide $2.4 million in scholarships for about 2,000 Palestinian students without a guarantee that recipients are not "members of the Hamas or Islamic Jihad student unions, have participated in their events, or have given any support to Hamas or Islamic Jihad, including voting for them in the council elections."
How many of my readers are US citizens, patriotic and loyal to this country, law-abiding (speeding and parking tickets excluded), who can't afford to pay for their kids or themselves to go to college?
But, we are going to make sure that Palestinian Arab kids have their school paid for by the US taxpayer!
Why can't Saudi Arabia pay for some of those kids to go to school?
Or, why can't Saudi Arabia at least stop paying for the bombs those guys strap on before they board buses full of Israeli civilians?
Dear readers, the US Government is run by smacktards!
(For my foreign readers, and others, who may not know: "smacktards" are people who are so retarded, ya gotta smack 'em!)