The U.S. Agency for International Development — which has faced accusations of mismanagement and waste with its funding in Afghanistan — recently canceled a contract for “attractive visual images” about its work in the war-torn country.
The request — which the agency posted Monday — has since been taken off USAID’s website. But the agency called for “timely, attractive visual images,” noting that in Afghanistan “negative images flood both social and conventional media with little counter,” according to a cached Web page of the request.
The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction sorts through the more than $100 billion in funding the United States has allocated to reconstruction and relief efforts in the country. According to an audit released last month, USAID agreed to give direct assistance to seven Afghan ministries despite determining that “it could not rely on the ministries it assessed to manage donor funds without a host of mitigation measures in place.”
Donald Sampler Jr., USAID’s assistant to the administrator for the Office of Afghanistan and Pakistan Affairs, said Monday that while the media provides an accurate — but limited — view of USAID’s work in the country, he expects “the reporting will continue to be somewhat negative.”
His comments echo the agency’s request for the photography proposals, which notes that “the overwhelming majority of pictures recording that effort are negative and at least to some extent misleading.”
The Web page doesn’t note how much an individual would be paid for the photographs.
A spokesman for USAID told USA Today that the photographs are supposed to “help inform Afghans about the assistance American taxpayers are providing,” but acknowledged that “the wording of the [request] did not appropriately articulate that purpose and is being reevaluated.”
What We're Following See More »
If a new poll is to be believed, Hillary Clinton has a big lead in the all-important swing state of Pennsylvania. A new Suffolk University survey shows her ahead of Donald Trump, 50%-41%. In a four-way race, she maintains her nine-point lead, 46%-37%. "Pennsylvania has voted Democratic in the past six presidential elections, going back to Bill Clinton’s first win in 1992. Yet it is a rust belt state that could be in play, as indicated by recent general-election polling showing a close race."
"President Barack Obama has chosen Jackson Park, a lakefront park that once hosted the world’s fair on the city’s South Side, for his $500 million presidential library, according to a person familiar with the matter."
Wednesday was the third night in a row that the Democratic convention enjoyed a ratings win over the Republican convention last week. Which might have prompted a fundraising email from Donald Trump exhorting supporters not to watch. "Unless you want to be lied to, belittled, and attacked for your beliefs, don't watch Hillary's DNC speech tonight," the email read. "Instead, help Donald Trump hold her accountable, call out her lies and fight back against her nasty attacks."
The Clintons will retain their Secret Service "code names from the last time they lived in the White House. Hillary Clinton is EVERGREEN and Bill ClintonEAGLE. Donald Trump is MOGUL, according to reports, and Melania Trump MUSE. The vice presidents get code names, too: Mike Pence is HOOSIER—a little on the nose—and his wife HUMMINGBIRD. Tim Kaine is DAREDEVIL, somewhat ambitiously. His wife's? To be determined."