The Senate Finance Committee Chairman, Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) released a report, revealing that an office within the Obama Administration’s Treasury Department granted a request from a non-profit group to fund terrorist activities.
According to the report, the Administration’s Treasury Department tapped the Office of Foreign Assets Control to grant a non-profit group’s demand for a license to pay an organization that funds terrorist activities.
Chuck Grassley’s staff investigated Wolrd Vision, a non-profit humanitarian organization, and its relationship with the Islamic Relief Agency (ISRA). Since 2004, ISRA had been sanctioned by the United States due to its affiliation with terrorist activities, including Osama Bin Laden.
"Charles Grassley says an office within the Treasury Department during the Obama administration gave in to a request from a non-profit group for pay an organization that had been sanctioned by the government for funding terrorist activities."https://t.co/RgbxZonTGz pic.twitter.com/ozRkHhDhuB
— The Scoop (@TheScoop_US) January 1, 2021
Grassley also stated that although World Vision was working to help people in need all over the work, the organization might have known that ISRA is on the sanction list or that it was listed due to its association with terrorist activities. He also added, “ignorance can’t suffice as an excuse. World Vision’s changes in vetting practices are a good first step, and I look forward to its continued progress.”
In addition to this, Grassley’s website noted, “World Vision only discovered the sanctions issue when another non-profit aid group declined to work with them after doing their own due diligence and finding the affiliation between World Vision and the sanctioned ISRA.”
Meanwhile, in a press release, World Vision claimed that before they partnered with ISRA, they were not aware of its status. The organization also shifted the blame to the United States government.
The World Vision also explained the two main reasons why they believe that the federal government should take responsibility for this incident. First, they claimed the two different government agencies that were working with ISRA, neither raised any concerns. Second, the World Vision argued that the online search tool that was given by the Treasury Department made it hard for them to determine whether ISRA was a sanctioned entity.
#FreeBiafra20 Non-profit humanitarian agency World Vision United States improperly transacted with the Islamic Relief Agency (ISRA) in 2014 with approval from the Obama administration, sending government funds to an organization that had been sanctioned… https://t.co/YD6ZgI4EfE
— Omambala Chuks (@OmambalaChuks) December 31, 2020
In 2004, the United States government placed sanctions on ISRA after they have transferred almost $5 million to Maktab Al-Khidamat, the predecessor to Al-Qaeda controlled by Osama Bin Laden. In addition to this, ISRA’s leadership is also involved in negotiations to help relocate Bin Laden and kept him safe.
ISRA was also the one who was responsible for moving funds to support a Palestinian terrorist. According to the reports by the Treasury Department, when raising funds, ISRA was known to display two collection boxes that were labeled with “Allah” and “Israel.” These labels signal that the funds would be aimed at attacking Israelis.
Last September 2014, World Vision’s legal department was also notified of the of ISRA’s possible status as a sanctioned entity. After said notification, the World Vision immediately stopped all the payments to ISRA and started looking at whether ISRA was really a sanctioned entity.
An investigative committee concluded that instead of willfully funding terrorists, World Vision was guilty of relying on “flawed logic” and failing to perform even an “elementary level of vetting” of the organization it funded. https://t.co/SqBRAqqA0v #Sudan #BlueNileProgram
— ChurchLeaders.com (@ChurchLead) December 31, 2020
Then, on November 19, 2014, a letter was sent to OFAC by the World Vision requesting them to clarify ISRA’s status. The letter also includes a demand for a temporary license to complete the existing contract with ISRA, in case the investigation indeed found out that ISRA is indeed a sanctioned entity.
According to the Department of Treasury findings, they found that World Vision failed to properly assess ISRA as a sub-guarantee. This failure resulted in the transfer of U.S. taxpayers’ money to an organization with an extensive history of assisting terrorist organizations and terrorists, including Osama bin Laden.