BY: Washington Free Beacon Staff
August 26, 2014 3:48 pm
Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said he finds media reports that Qatar is funding terrorism to be “concerning” if in fact “the reports are true.”
Kirby appeared to be unaware of State Department and Treasury Department intelligence reports categorically confirming that Qatar is a chief financier of terrorist activities, including of the group Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.
However, Kirby maintained that the U.S. relationship with Qatar remains “solid” and that reports of the Muslim country’s terrorist activities would be concerning if true.
“We continue to have a solid military-to-military relationship with Qatar,” Kirby told reporters, referring to recently inked $11 billion arms deal signed by the U.S. with Qatar.”
“As you know, Secretary Hagel has spent a lot of time with the GCC nations. We were just there a couple of months ago. And we want to continue to broaden that military-to-military relationship. And that’s our focus is on the military relationship.”
Kirby seemed completely unaware of U.S. intelligence reports on the matter of Qatar’s funding for terrorism.
The State Department has designated Qatar as “significant terrorist financing risk” due to its support for Hamas and other terror networks.
David Cohen, the U.S. Treasury Department’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, has additionally referred to Qatar as “a permissive terrorist financing environment.”
The State Department has further concluded: “Qatari-based terrorist fundraisers, whether acting as individuals or as representatives of other groups, were a significant terrorist financing risk and may have supported terrorist groups in countries such as Syria. The ascension of the new Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani did not result in any political changes that would affect the Government of Qatar’s ability to counter terrorism.”
“Qatar’s lack of outreach and enforcement activities to ensure terrorist financing-related transactions are not occurring and the lack of referrals by the financial intelligence unit of cases are significant gaps,” it added.