USAID rabbit hole

In digging into the ratio of grant money awarded by USAID to American organizations vs. local ones I got sidetracked by coming across the internal audit on its own practices to ensure they are not funding individuals/organizations that have been involved with terrorism. The report is eye-opening, and reflects the fact that their policies do not go far enough to prevent such funding (a fact they admit). It’s dated to 2007, now I’m curious if they’ve altered policies since then. The original search was a sidetrack from my original research intent, now this is a sidetrack off a sidetrack. Sigh.

Shockingly, this is one of their “strict” rules for avoiding the funding of terrorist-associates:

  • Grantees are required to sign a certification attesting that they have not provided any material support to terrorists in the past 10 years. 

10 years?! So if I was supporting terrorists back in 2003 (yeah when I was 15) I could be a viable candidate for USAID funding today? Why isn’t the policy zero-tolerance?

The report also cites “the” 2 cases where policies failed to prevent funding supporters of terrorism, this is one of them:

In February 2005, a USAID partner pled guilty to lying to law enforcement officials about his involvement with and support to one of the disciples of Osama bin Laden in a terrorism-related investigation. In August 2005, a U.S. District Court in Louisiana sentenced the former USAID partner to 48 months’ imprisonment and a fine for making false statements to Federal agents in connection with counterterrorism investigations. Before the indictment, USAID officials had provided the partner with approximately $108,000 (of an estimated $1 million) from July 2004 to January 2005 for a program funded out of USAID/Pakistan. Initially, the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan notified USAID about the partner’s arrest in October 2004 pursuant to the indictment. Of the $108,000, USAID paid the partner $25,000 as a termination settlement for the grant that was awarded in July 2004.”

Yeah, now I want to know that whole story as well. US district court in Louisiana hands down the sentence for a grantee for a project in Pakistan, after being informed by the embassy in Pakistan… was this an American? Were they in the US for this sentencing? I’m assuming, I don’t think we really do in absentia verdicts here in public view do we? A LexisNexis search is certainly in order.

More & more things to search out as always.

Take a look at the report for yourself:

"The government can’t solve problems because the two parties are so wedded to their opposing ideas that they can’t move. The very idea that someone from Congress can’t take something from the other side because they’ll be punished by their own party? That’s stupid. If I were running for office, I would be poaching ideas from everywhere. That’s how art works. You steal from everything."

Steven Soderbergh on how politicians can benefit from learning to steal like an artist in this excellent interview on New York Magazine.  (via explore-blog)

I admire you even more now Mr. Soderbergh.

(Source: , via explore-blog)