Limbaugh, others run with GOP attack on Obama for Libyan funding -- ignoring Bush's requests for millions* for Libya

››› ››› ADAM SHAH

Right-wing media including Rush Limbaugh, National Review Online's The Corner blog, the Gateway Pundit blog, and the Say Anything blog have attacked President Obama over funding that the State Department plans to give to Libyan organizations, including the Gaddafi Development Foundation, run by one of Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi's children. However, the Bush administration also worked with the Gaddafi Development Foundation and requested millions of dollars in funding for Libya.

Bush administration worked with Gaddafi Development Foundation

Bush State Department official said Gaddafi Development Foundation was a "partner," "very helpful" in negotiations to get compensation for Pan Am 103 victims. From a 2008 State Department briefing:

QUESTION: In the last several months, the son of Muammar Qadhafi, Saif al-Islam al-Qadhafi, had said that the families of the -- the Pan Am families were acting in a greedy manner and that the Libyan Government just kind of said whatever it needed to say and did whatever it needed to do to end this chapter in U.S.-Libyan relations. Do you care about that? I mean, does that -- do those kind of comments give you pause in terms of the relationship? Or are you just glad they gave them money and you're ready to move on?

DAVID WELCH (assistant secretary of state for Near East affairs): Well, I always pay attention to what people say and try to be measured in my own remarks. These are emotional subjects on both sides, and I've had a lot of interactions with Mr. Saif al-Islam al-Qadhafi, and I know that on their side this is an emotional issue as well.

That said, I believe he made an important contribution to trying to move this issue forward and has been doing so for some time. The Qadhafi Development Foundation is the partner to our own representation for how the international claims agreement goes, and they've been very helpful in this negotiation, as he has been personally.

Elise, it takes leadership on both sides to address a problem as complex as this, and it's also taken time. And I can -- I know that sometimes there have been irritations and those have been frayed here and there. The important thing is to try and get it concluded, and we've managed to do that. [10/31/08]

Bush administration reportedly worked with Gaddafi Development Foundation to visit detainee it transferred from Guantánamo to Libya. From a 2008 Human Rights Watch briefing:

One section of the paper documents the continued detention without charge of two Libyan men returned to Libya by the US government from Guantanamo Bay. The United States, acting in part on Libyan promises of humane treatment, sent Muhammad Abdallah Mansur al-Rimi to Libya in December 2006, followed by Sofian Ibrahim Hamad Hamoodah in September 2007.

The Libyan government has failed to provide Human Rights Watch with information about either man, despite repeated requests. The State Department said it visited them both on December 25 at a facility of the Libyan security forces, in the presence of Libyan officials and an official from the Qadhafi Development Foundation, a quasi-government organization run by Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi's son, Saif al-Islam. Both men were in detention facing unknown charges, but said they had not been physically abused, the State Department said. [1/2/08]

Bush administration requested millions of dollars for Libya

Bush administration requested $1.15 million for Libya in fiscal year 2008. In its foreign operations budget request for FY 2008, the Bush administration requested $1.15 million. As a justification for its request, the administration said: "Foreign assistance to Libya will initially be targeted to the Peace and Security objective in order to graduate Libya from a Restrictive country to a Developing country. Assistance in this objective will be complemented by a robust International Visitors Leadership Program (IVLP) and other exchanges as well as the inclusion of Libyan citizens in regional initiatives that can build a democratic cadre to advance internal reforms." According to the State Department, Congress actually appropriated $1 million for FY 2008.

Bush administration requested $1.1 million for Libya in FY 2009. The Bush administration requested $1.1 million for FY 2009.

Right-wing media echo GOP attack on Obama over U.S. funding for Libya

From the September 25 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:

LIMBAUGH: You know that we were going to give $2.5 million in aid to Libya through the State Department -- the U.S. Agency for International Development? And the State Department now says they're rethinking this, giving $2.5 million in aid to Libya, including two foundations run by Gaddafi's sons. This is after lawmakers on Thursday asked it to cancel the plan because of Gaddafi's speech. But we were gonna do it in the first place.

From a September 24 post by Andy McCarthy on NRO's The Corner blog:

The Obama administration has notified Congress of the State Department's intention to contribute $400,000 to foundations run by Muammar Qaddafi's two children -- $200,000 each for daughter Aisha and son Saif. Saif, you may recall, is the son who escorted the Lockerbie terrorist Abdel Baset al-Megrahi home to a hero's welcome in Libya after President Obama sternly "warned" Qaddafi that there was to be no hero's welcome.

Illinois Republican congressman Mark Steven Kirk (House Appropriations Subcommittee on State/Foreign Operations) has sent Obama a letter asking him to rescind the funding.

Could somebody please tell this president that this is not just Annenberg Foundation cash he's passing out to his personal terrorist pals like Bill Ayers but American taxpayer dollars he's doling out to the terrorist tyrant behind the murder -- in just that one incident -- of 270 people, including 189 Americans.

Just 40 months to go. God help us.

From a September 25 Gateway Pundit post:

Nice. Obama plans on giving $400,000 to a Libyan Charity run by the Gaddafi family. CBS2 Chicago reported:

The Obama Administration plans to give $400,000 in funding to a Libyan charity run by the Gadhafi family, and U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) wants the grant withdrawn.

The money would be divided between two foundations run by the family of Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi. A $200,000 share is set to go to the Gadhafi Development Foundation, which is run by Gadhafi's son, Saif, and another $200,000 are to go to Wa Attassimou, an organization run by Muammar Gadhafi's daughter, Aisha.

From a Say Anything post titled, "Obama Gives $200,000 Of Your Children's Tax Dollars To Charities Run By Libyan Dictator's Children":

We don't have the money. This is just adding to the massive national debt pile we already have. And oh, by the way, this money is going to charities run by tyrants and terrorist sympathizers.

The Obama administration has notified Congress of the State Department's intention to contribute $400,000 to foundations run by Muammar Qaddafi's two children - $200,000 each for daughter Aisha and son Saif. Saif, you may recall, is the son who escorted the Lockerbie terrorist Abdel Baset al-Megrahi home to a hero's welcome in Libya after President Obama sternly "warned" Qaddafi that there was to be no hero's welcome.

Illinois Republican congressman Mark Steven Kirk (House Appropriations Subcommittee on State/Foreign Operations) has sent Obama a letter asking him to rescind the funding.

Correction: 

The headline and text of this item originally stated "billions." Media Matters regrets the error.

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