Tags: leahy | aid | egypt | military

White House Has Privately Halted Military Aid to Egypt

Image: White House Has Privately Halted Military Aid to Egypt

By Lisa Barron   |   Tuesday, 20 Aug 2013 09:55 AM

The Obama administration has temporarily suspended aid to Egypt's military while not publicly declaring that the ouster of former President Mohammed Morsi in July was a coup.

A spokesman for Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy, who also heads the Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations, told The Daily Beast Monday that military aid has been put on hold.

Leahy's "understanding is that aid to the Egyptian military has been halted, as required by law," said David Carle.

Two administration officials also told the publication that White House lawyers decided the law called for temporarily restricting military aid in the event of a coup, but did not mandate a public announcement about whether a coup had actually taken place.

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"The decision was we're going to avoid saying it was a coup, but to stay on the safe side of the law we are going to act as if the designation has been made for now," said one official. "By not announcing the decision, it gives the administration the flexibility to reverse it."

Publicly, the administration has indicated that $585 million of the promised 1.3 billion in military aid for fiscal 2013 is not officially on hold because it is not technically due to be delivered to Egypt until the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30.

President Barack Obama last week condemned the Egyptian military's bloody crackdown on civilians but did not directly address the aid issue, saying the administration was reviewing all aspects of U.S. cooperation with the military.

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"While we want to sustain our relationship with Egypt, our traditional cooperation cannot continue as usual when civilians are being killed in the streets and rights are being rolled back," the president said.

Obama also announced that joint military exercises with Egypt due to take place next month had been canceled.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Monday that no final decision has been made on any aid to Egypt but acknowledged that some economic support has been temporarily suspended, as The New York Times reported Sunday.

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