National Security

How Obama Funded an al-Qaida Affiliate

The Islamic Relief Agency was just another part of Obama's malfeasance.

Harold Hutchison · Jul. 30, 2018

When it comes to combating terrorism, the Obama administration’s record is at best, a mixed one. Yes, Osama bin Laden was taken down by a team of Navy SEALs, but at the same time, Barack Obama also took a number of actions that undid a lot of the sound counter-terrorism policies George W. Bush had enacted.

For instance, Obama not only banned the enhanced interrogation techniques that broke Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other senior al-Qaida personnel, he effectively limited our intelligence community to interrogation techniques available to the public — and thus to al-Qaida. There’s also his appeasement of Iran, which included pallets of ransom cash.

What grabbed fewer headlines, but is just as disturbing, is how the Obama administration funded an al-Qaida affiliate. The Islamic Relief Agency, based in Khartoum, Sudan, had developed a track record of not only ties to Maktab al-Khidamat, a forerunner to al-Qaida, but was also known to raise money for Hamas, insurgents in Iraq, and a notorious terrorist in Afghanistan.

In October 2004, the United States designated it as a terror-financing organization. In 2010, a number of criminal convictions for money laundering, conspiracy, and other charges were secured, netting, among others, a former congressman in addition to officials tied to the American affiliate of this group. You’d think that this is a group that wouldn’t get any federal funds.

Well, under Obama, that group began getting federal grants. As much as we wish that this was some sort of April Fool’s joke, we’re almost four months past that date. In 2014, the Islamic Relief Agency was designated to receive $200,000 of a $723,405 grant given to World Vision. World Vision rightly raised concerns, citing the Islamic Relief Agency’s designation. But in May 2015, the Obama administration allowed that al-Qaida affiliate to receive $115,000 of the original sub-grant.

Sadly, this is not astonishing. This is the same administration that allowed the Islamic State to fester until it became a full-blown threat, inspiring attacks in the United States and metastasizing across the world — helped in no small part by Obama’s decision to withdraw from Iraq at the end of 2011.

Thankfully, there have been no further funds handed to that al-Qaida affiliate. That being said, there are some big questions that need to be answered. Who did approve that eventual payment? What will be done to prevent repeats of this particular fiasco in the future? We need answers.

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