The Obama administration has secretly begun treating the military takeover of Egypt last month as a coup by temporarily suspending military aid, the office of Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and unnamed administration officials reportedly told Josh Rogin of The Daily Beast.
A spokesman for Leahy, who is the head of the appropriations state and foreign-operations subcommittee, told the Beast that the Senator’s “understanding is that aid to the Egyptian military has been halted, as required by law.”
The U.S. government has refused to publicly call the July 3 ouster of President Mohamed Morsi a coup because, as Peter Baker of the New York Times noted, “under United States law it has no choice but to cut off financial assistance to the country if it determines that he was deposed in a military coup.”
But two administration officials told the Beast that White House lawyers decided it was best to observe the law as if there had been a coup designation while also deciding that the law did not require to make that designation publicly.
The aid packages now reportedly temporarily on hold, according to the officials, include: the disbursement of the $US585 million of $US1.3 billion in fiscal 2013 foreign military financing that is as yet undelivered, the delivery of Apache helicopters that the Egyptian government has already paid for, and the depositing funds for programs that would directly benefit the Egyptian government.
“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,” one administration official told the Beast. “By not announcing the decision, it gives the administration the flexibility to reverse it.”
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