A Senate investigation has found that Barack Obama’s administration gave approval for the non-profit humanitarian agency World Vision United States to transact with the Islamic Relief Agency (ISRA) in 2014, sending government funds to an organization that had previously been sanctioned for its ties to terrorism.
This was revealed in a report recently released by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa). The report laid out the findings of his staffers probe, which began in February of last year, into the relationship between World Vision and ISRA.
The investigation concluded that “World Vision was not aware that ISRA had been sanctioned by the U.S. since 2004 after funneling roughly $5 million to Maktab al-Khidamat, the predecessor to Al-Qaeda controlled by Osama Bid Laden,” according to Yahoo News. However, the report also found that World Vision’s ignorance about this was only due to insufficient vetting practices.
“World Vision works to help people in need across the world, and that work is admirable,” Grassley said in a statement. “Though it may not have known that ISRA was on the sanctions list or that it was listed because of its affiliation with terrorism, it should have. 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.”
The investigation was launched after a National Review article came out in July of 2018 in which Sam Westrop, the director of the Middle East Forum’s Islamist Watch, revealed that the Obama administration had approved a “$200,000 grant of taxpayer money to ISRA.” He confirmed that officials in the Obama administration specifically authorized the release of “at least $115,000” of this grant even after learning that it was a designated terror organization.
The report states that the probe “did not find any evidence that World Vision intentionally sought to circumvent U.S. sanctions by partnering with ISRA.”
“We also found no evidence that World Vision knew that ISRA was a sanctioned entity prior to receiving notice from Treasury,” the report added. “However, based on the evidence presented, we conclude that World Vision had access to the appropriate public information and should have known how, but failed to, properly vet ISRA as a sub-grantee, resulting in the transfer of U.S. taxpayer dollars to an organization with an extensive history of supporting terrorist organization [sic] and terrorists, including Osama Bin Laden.”
The report went on to last World Vision’s vetting system as “borderline negligent” and to say that the organization “ignored elementary level investigative procedures.”