White House Rebuffs Criticism of $5B Antiterror Plan

Global Security Newswire Staff
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Global Security Newswire Staff
June 10, 2014, 10:25 a.m.

Obama of­fi­cials are fight­ing cri­ti­cism of their mult­i­bil­lion-dol­lar plan for shor­ing up an­ti­ter­ror­ism cap­ab­il­it­ies among U.S. part­ners, De­fense News re­ports.

The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion’s re­quest for Con­gress to cre­ate a $5 bil­lion “coun­terter­ror­ism part­ner­ships fund” promp­ted ex­pres­sions of de­ri­sion from a num­ber of GOP law­makers and in­siders in­volved in fed­er­al budget plan­ning, the pub­lic­a­tion said on Monday. One source said the White House is still con­sult­ing with the State and De­fense de­part­ments on how to choose state re­cip­i­ents of the po­ten­tial aid for com­bat­ing ter­ror­ism threats.

“The White House is co­ordin­at­ing a very in­form­al, very ad-hoc pro­cess to fig­ure out what in the hell this is,” the in­sider said, adding that the Pentagon and State De­part­ment may not have provided in­put on the pro­pos­al pri­or to its un­veil­ing last month.

White House spokes­man Ed­ward Price dis­puted that as­ser­tion.

“The idea for this fund evolved out of months of co­ordin­a­tion from across seni­or levels of de­part­ments and agen­cies,” said Price, head of stra­tegic com­mu­nic­a­tions for the Na­tion­al Se­cur­ity Coun­cil.

The spokes­man dis­missed as “ab­so­lutely false” a sug­ges­tion that the ini­ti­at­ive could set off a scramble for an­ti­ter­ror­ism-as­sist­ance dol­lars by com­pet­ing fed­er­al agen­cies.

“This pro­gram is en­vi­sioned to build upon the ex­cel­lent co­oper­a­tion between State and De­fense,” Price ar­gued.

He ad­ded that the plan “would in­cor­por­ate ex­ist­ing tools and au­thor­it­ies.” Some crit­ics have said it was un­cer­tain wheth­er ap­pro­pri­at­ors could fund the pro­posed plan through ex­ist­ing stat­utory mech­an­isms, rather than abid­ing by the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s call to provide the aid as part of its re­quest for “over­seas con­tin­gency op­er­a­tions” in fisc­al 2015.

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