The ongoing row over American Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) employees barred from leaving Egypt has escalated today. The State Department reveals that at least three of the employees under investigation are hiding in the US Embassy in Cairo, fearing arrest if they leave.
The State Department has declined to name the three employees, but they were subjects of the ongoing investigation into the International Republican Institute (IRI) and National Democratic Institute (NDI), two heavily US government-funded organizations run by top members of the Republican and Democratic Parties, respectively.
Egypt’s junta raided a number of NDI and IRI backed groups late last month, claiming that they were illegal, having never been formally legalized by former US-backed dictator Hosni Mubarak before the Egyptian revolution. The groups were working on behalf of certain political parties favored by the US in the parliamentary elections.
The raids took the Obama Administration by surprise because the junta has also been heavily funded by the US, and Egypt’s military has received untold billions of dollars from the US in the past. IRI leader Sen. John McCain (R – AZ) has openly condemned the raids, saying they “conflict with US national interests.” The junta has spent massive amounts of money lobbying the US to accept the raids.
The State Department warned last week that Congress has made further aid to the junta conditional on “certifications” that they are operating within US-accepted norms, which would likely oblige the junta to back off its investigations, at least so far as they relate to the NDI and IRI’s efforts to peddle influence in the nation.