Official : U.S. temporarily holds up military aid to Egypt Aug 20, 2013 5:02:09 GMT
Post by Focus on Aug 20, 2013 5:02:09 GMT
The Obama administration is "reprogramming" some funds to Egypt while a review is underway -- in effect, temporarily holding up some military aid to the country, a U.S. official said.
A spokesman for Senator Patrick Leahy, David Carle, confirmed to CNN his office has been told the aid has been halted.
Senator Patrick Leahy
The Vermont Democrat is chairman of the Appropriations State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee.
But the U.S. official emphasized no decision has been made to permanently halt the aid.
The move means the administration has taken temporary steps that ultimately allows it to move forward on either scenario: pressing ahead with the aid or cutting it off.
The source would not detail how the aid was being redirected.
Once a decision has been reached about the best approach, the official said the administration will consult with Congress about how to move forward.
Reporter Josh Rogin with the Daily Beast first reported the U.S. has quietly suspended the aid.
What it means
The move provides the administration with a quick 'on/off' switch.
Under the law, if the U.S. were to designate the situation in Egypt a "coup," the U.S. couldn't restore aid until a democratic government is established.
A coup determination would not be "temporary."
But if the U.S. "reprograms" funds, they can withhold the aid as long as it thinks it's in its interest.
It could restore the aid without needing a legal determination that a democratic government has returned to Egypt. If, for example, Egypt stops the bloodshed, the aid could quickly resume.
At the White House briefing Monday, spokesman Josh Earnest said, "That's the purpose of these reviews: to determine what impact it would have on our national security, whether it's in compliance with the law, and is it going to get us closer to seeing the kind of outcome in Egypt that we would like to see, which is the prompt return to a democratically elected, civilian government in Egypt."
Activist: Aid used against Egyptians :
Egypt turmoil spreads to Sina
Sen. McCain: "A blow to our credibility
Earnest said the U.S. involvement with Egypt extends beyond the military relationship, and includes influence at the International Monetary Fund, and on tourism "that has a significant impact on the Egyptian economy."
["That's the purpose of these reviews: to determine what impact it would have on our national security, whether it's in compliance with the law, and is it going to get us closer to seeing the kind of outcome in Egypt that we would like to see, which is the prompt return to a democratically elected, civilian government in Egypt"] - Sorry, I'm just not buying it - Fx