U.S. government report concludes USAID agency did not abide by terrorism vetting procedures in grants to Palestinians.
By Algemeiner Staff
In a new report issued Monday, the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) concluded that the government’s multi-billion dollar international aid agency did not abide by anti-terrorism requirements in the provision of assistance to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
In its report, the GAO stated that the US Agency for International Development (USAID) had “ensured that the awards it funded directly went to individuals and organizations that were checked for links to terrorism” over a four year period covering 2015-19.
However, the report continued, “USAID did not ensure that awards these entities made to others, known as subawards, were compliant with antiterrorism requirements.”
The report’s analysis of grants made to third parties by Palestinian recipients of US financial assistance showed that in 245 cases, there were questions over the ultimate destination of the funds. USAID did not properly ensure that the Palestinian organizations initially receiving the money were vetting those groups to whom they made grants for any terrorism links, the report said.
“According to a 2010 USAID [Judea and Samaria] and Gaza program notice, prime awardees are required to ensure that applicable vetting approval is obtained before a subaward is made,” the report noted.
Commenting on the GAO’s findings, USAID said it was improving its procedures, but stressed at the same time that no examples of funding to organizations linked with terrorism were discovered in the report.
“We are already taking steps to increase oversight of subawardees in the future,” a USAID spokesman told the Washington Free Beacon on Thursday, adding that the GAO “found no cases of USAID funding to parties who failed vetting.”
The GAO report urged — as US funding to the Palestinians resumes under President Joe Biden’s Administration — that USAID from now on “verify prime awardees have procedures to ensure compliance with requirements before making subawards.”