The PJ Tatler

Has Obama Cut Egypt's Aid or Hasn't He?

Late Monday, the Daily Beast reported that Obama administration had tried splitting the Cairo baby, not dubbing the military’s actions a “coup” in order to avoid running afoul of US law that would require cutting off said aid, but quietly cutting off the aid anyway.

The office of Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the head of the appropriations state and foreign-operations subcommittee, told The Daily Beast on Monday that military aid to Egypt has been temporarily cut off.

Leahy’s “understanding is that aid to the Egyptian military has been halted, as required by law,” said David Carle, a spokesman for Leahy.

The administration’s public message is that $585 million of promised aid to the Egyptian military in fiscal 2013 is not officially on hold, as technically it is not due until September 30, the end of the fiscal year, and no final decisions have been made.

But the Hill reports today that the White House says aid hasn’t been cut off at all.

“The report that we have suspended assistance to Egypt is incorrect,” National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said in a statement.

“As the President has said, we are reviewing all of our assistance to Egypt.  No policy decisions have been made at this point regarding the remaining assistance,” she added.

These stories aren’t necessarily in complete conflict. The September 30 deadline gives the administration some time to dither before signing the check. The Beast story could have caught them in the act of suspending, and the White House has now decided to fudge rather than come out tilting openly toward the Muslim Brotherhood. It’s hard to say with this notoriously opaque, truthless White House. Every story it tells has a convenience factor built in, the question is always whether what it says on any given day contains any actual truth. Someone like Sen. Leahy ought to know, but apparently even he doesn’t.