The Biden administration is being sued for refusing to submit internal documents that could show it violated a law barring the federal government from sending money to the Palestinian government until it stops its so-called “pay-for-slay” scheme paying terrorists and their families, The Washington Free Beacon reported Monday.
Protect the Public’s Trust (PPT), a watchdog group comprised of former government officials, has charged the State Department of violating its Freedom of Information Act it its refusal to turn over documents relating to the administration’s decision to resume U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority. Former president Donald Trump stopped the payments over the PA’s support of terrorists and Congress passed the Taylor Force Act during his tenure.
According to Palestinian government’s current policy, terrorists who are serving out sentences in Israeli jails receive stipends in accordance with the severity of their crime – the more Israelis they murdered, the more money they receive.
According to the lawsuit, a copy of which was exclusively obtained by the Beacon, the State Department did not answer PPT’s FOIA request for more than 240 days, well beyond the permitted statutory period.
The report said:
The information in question could show the Biden administration resumed Palestinian aid in violation of a law known as the Taylor Force Act, a 2018 bipartisan piece of legislation that bars the federal government from providing taxpayer aid to the Palestinian government as long as it continues a policy known as “pay to slay,” in which aid dollars are used to pay terrorists and their families. The Palestinian Authority continues to make these payments, generating concerns from lawmakers and watchdog groups like PPT that the Biden administration violated the law.
“The American public deserves transparency around this decision, which may not only be in violation of the law but could potentially result in increased danger for U.S. citizens and their allies,” Michael Chamberlain, PPT’s director, told the Free Beacon. “But the State Department has yet to even give an estimate for when we will receive records, much less provide any.”
The report also noted the State Department’s own admission to Congress in March 2021 that the Palestinian government spent at least $151 million in 2019 on the pay-to-slay program. A further $191 million was spent on “deceased Palestinians referred to as ‘martyrs,'” the State Department said.
PPT demanded to see records including the meetings notes of meetings that discussed “the legality and oversight controls in place as it pertains to the Taylor Force Act, Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act of 2018, or other relevant laws or U.S. policies,” according to the lawsuit.
Pro-Palestinian demonstrators were filmed Thursday as they attacked Jews in Manhattan. https://t.co/0JEvY8zdFK
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The watchdog also asked for all internal communications between Secretary of State Antony Blinken, State Department spokesman Ned Price, and other officials involved in the decision to resume aid to be turned over.
“The release of these documents is in the public interest because the public has a right to know whether high-ranking officials charged with formulating foreign policy are properly and wisely considering legal restrictions and policy implications related to providing funds that benefit the Palestinian Authority,” the lawsuit states.
Israel reportedly showed U.S. officials “smoking gun” intelligence indicating that the Palestinian Hamas terrorist organization was using the Jala Tower in Gaza, which also housed the Associated Press, Al Jazeera, and other international news outlets. https://t.co/FnHZ0yH7kv
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) May 16, 2021
The State Department “has failed to produce responsive records, provide an estimate for when it will begin to produce responsive records, or even clearly confirm that it has begun searching for responsive records,” the lawsuit said.
The State Department did not respond to a Free Beacon request for comment.