It has been discovered that a grant of $200,000 was approved by the Obama administration to an affiliate of al Qaeda in Sudan. What is more shocking is that this happened after a decade that the affiliate was designated as a terrorist-financing organization. Even worse is the fact that at least $115,000 of the grant was specifically authorized by government officials even after they learnt that it had been designated as a terrorist organization.
This incident occurred in 2004. The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the US Treasury Department had designated Islamic Relief Agency (ISRA), based in Khartoum, as a terror financing group. This was done because ISRA was linked to Osama bin Laden as well as his group Maktab al-Khidamat which was the precursor of al Qaeda.
In 2014, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) provided $723,405 to an international charity called World Vision Inc. for humanitarian aid in Sudan. Of the amount given, $200,000 was meant to be given to ISRA, a sub-grantee.
However, World Vision did certainly contact USAID and notify it that ISRA was possibly on the terror list. USAID commanded World Vision to stop all activities with the group. OFAC and other authorities were informed of the same. In the meantime, World Vision and USAID waited for instructions from those authorities.
However, it was taking too long for the authorities to deal with the matter. This proved to be an issue for World Vision which contacted OFAC and also let them know that the delay was affecting their own work. The delay was straining the ties between the government of Sudan and World Vision. Additionally, World Vision also notified the authorities including OFAC that it was going to restart its ties with ISRA.
This shocked USAID. Later, when OFAC provided confirmation of ISRA being a terrorist outfit, it told World Vision to cease all associations with ISRA.
This was a problem for World Vision as it had already contracted ISRA for work. It also affected its ties with the Sudanese government. Some political leaders in Sudan wanted World Vision to be expelled from Sudan because of its failure to pay ISRA. That in turn would have disrupted their entire program in Sudan.
In order to prevent World Vision being affected, OFAC had to authorize a one-time payment of $115,000. Without it, World Vision could have been sued, tarnishing its reputation and ruining all the good work it had done.