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  • State Department Faces Congressional Scrutiny Over Internet Freedom Funding

    The ranking member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee wants to know why Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is sitting on millions of dollars in taxpayer money rather than shifting it to the Broadcasting Board of Governors for anti-censorship work in China and other repressive regimes.

    Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) wrote to Clinton on Friday after learning the BBG has yet to receive funding from the State Department. The BBG, which oversees government-sponsored international broadcasting, would like to use the money to ensure its content is accessible. The so-called Great Firewall of China, for example, is a hurdle for Voice of America’s digital efforts.

    Lugar expressed disappointment that Clinton has failed to follow the advice of Congress. Democrats and Republicans have asked the State Department to give a portion to the BBG.

    “Should Congress take more remedial, legislative action?” Lugar asked in the letter.

    The State Department indicated last week it has $28 million remaining for Internet freedom work. Despite its pleas to Congress, the BBG is unlikely to receive any of it. That’s because Congress didn’t give State specific instructions how to spend the money in last year’s budget.

    Instead, Lugar and other members of Congress have strongly encouraged Clinton to give a share of the funding to the BBG, given its work in this area.

    “No doubt, the [State] Department and USAID have significant functions to play in providing training related to this issue,” Lugar wrote to Clinton. “However, when it comes to technology, given their daily struggles with China, Iran, Belarus, Syria, Venezuela and other closed societies, the BBG is our government’s leading expert on getting through electronic firewalls.”

    Lugar would know. He authored a report in January on the BBG’s advances in Internet Censorship Circumvention Technology, urging the State Department to shift at least $8 million to the BBG.

    Other members of Congress have suggested the BBG should receive even more money. The House-passed continuing resolution, H.R. 1, transferred $10 million to the BBG. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) wanted to shift $15 million. It’s unknown how much money will be included in the compromise deal reached by Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and President Obama late Friday. That money, however, would apply to the fiscal 2011 budget.

    More than 18 months have passed since the fiscal 2010 budget was adopted by Congress. Lawmakers included $30 million for the State Department to pursue Internet freedom measures. There is still about $28 million remaining in the bank account, and it could be several more weeks before the money is spent.

    Complicating matters for Clinton are recent reports that the State Department and USAID have given nearly $5 million to the BBC World Service Trust, the BBC’s international charity. The Broadcasting Board of Governors does similar work, raising even more questions about State’s funding decisions.

    Lugar Letter to Clinton on BBG Funding

    Posted in Scribe [slideshow_deploy]

    8 Responses to State Department Faces Congressional Scrutiny Over Internet Freedom Funding

    1. sablegsd says:

      I want to know why American taxpayers are supposed to fund this carp.

      Give it back!!

    2. R Holland, Chandler, says:

      I think Clinton is saving the money to provide bonuses for her employees before she leave the State Department.

    3. WHICH WAY says:

      30 MILLION?….JUST FIND A HIGH SCHOOL HACKER AND TURN HIM LOOSE FOR BEER MONEY, HE WILL SOLVE THE PROBLEM AND GET A CADRE OF CHINESE KIDS TO KEEP THE SYSTEM OPEN.

    4. Leon Lundquist, Dura says:

      Wow! I was expecting our writer to go to the Man Caused Disaster of the Wikki Leaks, how Insiders opened up American Secrets to everybody with a low level clearance! Bad enough, the State Department leaks like a seive, but when it comes to China, "Hands off!" criticizing them. Bad enough Hillary Clinton considers herself a "Wilson Progressive" but then this kind of Act, withholding funds is aggressively Anti American! Our own Secretary of State! "Don't worry China! Your Secrets are safe with me!"

      Amazing that in the Obama Administration they can use Firewall Busting Technology to promote small d democracy for the Mid East, but when it comes to using it against evil? "Hands off!" Oh! How ignorant, you might think. But considering who these Progressives are? I like to call it Treason. Our own Communists in the Government just love Chairman Mao! And the President? He couldn't pass the Security Check to work as a cook at the White House!

    5. Pingback: D.C. Mayor Vince Gray Arrested for Not Understanding the Constitution | The Foundry: Conservative Policy News.

    6. Bill T., Kansas City says:

      While I am not a fan of Clinton or Obama, this is also the fault of the Congress. They appropriated the money to the State Department and adivsed them to use the money for the BBG. They should have passed legislation appropriating that money for the specific purpose of using it for the BBG, not suggested it. This is just another example of Congress making itself play second fiddle to the Administration, not being it's equal, as intended in the Constitution.

    7. Thomas M.Carroll Jr. says:

      I stopped trying to rationalize any of President Obama's choice(s) to run the State Department? Her supporters hate Obama, and his the same. His rationale of bringing competitors together to form a coalition has proven to be a failure. Which that writing was on the wall from the start. Any Cabinet member (including her) Should of explained to our Commander,and Chief..The proper proto-call over the past three years… Bowing to OPEC? Accepting a communist novel? Allowing various leaders to threaten the United States Armed forces, and their families in Korea..(With no consequences?) Even Senator John Kerry would of been a better pick…You can not believe half the stuff written about him in the novel.."Unfit to Command." Can you? I just think the hippes of yesteryear are running our Government, or parts of it..Appealing parts of the Constitution is one thing. Passing bills into law in "lame duck sessions". Is not why "we the people" voted them in..To Govern our country. We the people thought that taxpayers in the USA were not going to be taxed if they made under 250,000 a year. We the people. Have to work in the districts we the people live, drive, and work in. We do not live in Europe.."Silly statements by liberals about how Europe is paying a lot more than US..I do not really care. I live in the US of A…Maybe some of these liberal politicians that love Europe so much..Should resign, and go live there…There JOB is to look out for OUR best interest first, and foremost!" Throw those extra millions into releasing our natural resources of fuel…so we can all go on our camping trips this summer (in our rv's).

    8. Wes in cincy says:

      Most corrupt admin that I have ever seen in my life.

      I will never understand the empty heads that voted for these empty suits.

      The Democrats always succeed in trashing the office of President.

      Obama not only doesn't know how to run a government,

      he couldn't even run a garbage truck.

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