Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has waived the new congressional restrictions on $1.3 billion in military aid to Egypt, a decision that has already drawn fire from lawmakers concerned about the message it will send to Cairo, which has launched a broad-based crackdown against civil society organizations in the country.
Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., who was informed by the State Department of the decision on Thursday, told National Journal he was "disappointed" Clinton sidestepped the conditions he authored on the fiscal 2012 package of military aid.
"I know Secretary Clinton wants the democratic transition in Egypt to succeed, but by waiving the conditions we send a contradictory message," Leahy, who chairs the Appropriations subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations, said.
Congress passed new requirements on the fiscal 2012 military aid requiring the administration to certify that Egypt was supporting the transition to democratic government and implementing policies to protect due process of law and freedom of expression, association, and religion.
Egypt’s planned prosecution of 43 civil-society workers, 16 of them Americans, on charges of illegally operating democracy-promotion programs and stirring unrest in the country put the virtually sacrosanct package of U.S. military aid in jeopardy for the first time in three decades.