U.S. delays aid screening plan

A Bush administration plan to toughen screening for U.S. aid recipients was delayed while the government considered complaints by NGOs.

The plan, which was to have been launched Monday, was based in part on recent congressional laws addressing concerns that U.S. assistance might be routed to Palestinian terrorist groups.

Under the new plan, nongovernmental organizations would have to submit names, phone numbers and e-mail addresses of staffers and forfeit knowledge of what U.S. intelligence agencies did with the information.

NGOs complained that the process was burdensome, probably infringed on privacy rights of U.S. staffers and reviews had shown that the current system, which leaves staff vetting up to the NGOs, was working.

The Washington Post on Tuesday quoted U.S. Agency for International Development officials as saying that the plan would be “would be effective, but not operational” until there is a systematic review of the complaints.

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