Expert: Obama’s Syria license “dangerous”November 3, 2012
What good are sanctions against funding Al Qaeda if the Treasury Department issues a blanket license to the Islamist-dominated Syrian Support Group to sponsor whatever causes it deems fit in Syria? It is worse than simply letting the SSG operate in Syria—it is giving them the express legal authority to do so. If the money ends up in the wrong hands, the SSG can always say, “We got a license from the U.S. government. Don’t blame us.”
By Patrick Poole on Oct. 25:
Anti-Terror Authorities Question Where Money Goes From Group With Special License From Obama Administration
In July, the Obama State Department approved an extraordinary license for a newly formed U.S.-based organization, the Syrian Support Group, to raise money for Syrian rebels – overriding the administration’s own sanctions and Obama’s Executive Order against such activity.
To some counterterrorism and terror finance authorities in Washington D.C., this extremely rare privilege raises considerable concerns.
This is especially true because two related figures with the organization, Louay Safi and Mazen Asbahi, have previously been tied to terror fundraising efforts by Islamic organizations identified by the U.S. government in federal court as fronts for the Muslim Brotherhood.
One U.S. Treasury official specializing in terror finance said:
This license sets a dangerous precedent because it gives complete and perfect cover to virtually all of their activities. They can honestly say, “I can’t be fundraising for terror because I have a license from the State Department.” But we have absolutely no idea where that money is going once it leaves the United States. And as the Supreme Court recognized in a court case a few years ago, money raised for terrorist groups is fungible.
The situation in Syria is so fluid, we don’t have the slightest idea who is actually benefiting from this money being raised here, and anybody from the administration who says that they do is bald-faced lying.
The Syrian Support Group was incorporated in April 2012, according to records obtained from the District of Columbia Corporations Division.
On May 24, the group sent a letter to the State Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, and on July 23 that same office issued the license – a copy of which was obtained by The Blaze – allowing them to “export, reexport, sell, or supply to the Free Syrian Army (‘FSA’) financial, communications, logistical, and other services otherwise prohibited by Executive Order 13582 in order to support the FSA.”
The Free Syrian Army is affiliated with the Syrian National Council governed by that group’s military bureau, which is overwhelming dominated by Islamist groups, including the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood…
Details of the Muslim Brotherhood connections are laid out in The Blaze.