Foreign Affairs - Official Blog
Posts on Oversight and Investigations

Washington, Jul 26 - The Olympics kick-off tomorrow in London. A lot of attention has been focused on the opening ceremonies – will the IOC allow a minute of silence to recognize the 11 Israeli victims of terrorism on the 40th anniversary of the Munich Games? I’ll always remember Jim McKay’s agonizing "they are all gone" announcement… Everyone thinks a minute of silence is more than appropriate – but it likely won’t happen, as the IOC has consistently resisted, fearing an Arab boycott.

But there is another "boycott" that has caught my attention. Word comes that Iran’s judo champion is sick. Really sick. Too sick to travel to the Olympic Games. Turns out that the Iranian would likely have had to face an Israeli in his quest to medal.

Maybe he really did come down with a "critical digestive system infection" – sounds serious. But in 2004 and 2008, Iranian Olympic athletes had injuries that forced them to withdraw (they would have likely faced Israelis). And last year, the Iranian judo champion admitting to throwing matches: "If I won, I would have had to compete with an Israeli athlete." In other words, he was afraid of losing to an Israeli. This "athlete," of course, is just a cog in corrupt regime. The Iranian sports minister said "not competing with Zionist athletes is one of the values and sources of pride of the Iranian people and its athletes."

It is often written that countries are personified by their sports teams. A few weeks ago, the European financial crisis played out on a soccer field when indebted Greece played taskmaster Germany. The German bankers won. Here, the judo case is revealing for what it says about the leaders in Tehran: cowards.


Washington, D.C. — Earlier today, U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, joined other Members of Congress to honor the 11 Israeli Olympians who were murdered at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich.  Leaders around the world continue to urge the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to hold a moment of silence for these Olympians on the 40th anniversary of the Munich massacre during the Opening Ceremony of this year’s Summer Olympics in London.

(Click here for video)

Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
“Our message to the International Olympic Committee is simple: Do the right thing.
“For 40 years, the IOC has refused to hold a moment of silence at the Olympic Opening Ceremonies in memory of the 11 Israeli Olympians—including an American citizen, David Mark Berger—murdered by violent extremists at the 1972 Olympics in Munich.  We have written repeatedly to the IOC to urge them to reconsider and re-reconsider their position regarding the moment of silence, and the response we received repeated the same meaningless excuses the IOC has clung to year after year.
“We know why the IOC has refused: Because the murdered Olympians were Israelis, and the IOC does not want to draw the ire of foreign governments who still object to the very existence of a Jewish state in the homeland of the Jewish people.  Well, the leadership of the IOC needs to recognize that leadership is about doing the right thing, particularly when it’s not the easy thing.  The Olympics are not about taking the path of least resistance.  The Olympics are about overcoming obstacles and going the extra mile.
“So to the president of the IOC, we say: Don’t compromise Olympic values by taking the easy way out. Overcome the political obstacles.  Go the extra mile.  Listen to the U.S., Australia, Britain, Canada, Germany, Italy, and Israel.  Listen to the hundreds of thousands of people who have supported this cause on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and other social media.  Most importantly, listen to the widows of the murdered Israeli Olympians, who have been waiting for decades.
“There is still time to do the right thing—there is always time to do the right thing—and pay tribute to the Olympians whose lives were taken at the Olympics 40 years ago.
“All we ask for is: Just—One—Minute.”

Published July 17, 2012 


A United Nations agency under fire for shipments of computers and other sophisticated equipment to North Korea and Iran has apparently rejected a request by the U.S. State Department to conduct an independent probe into the controversy, drawing a pointed bipartisan rebuke from top lawmakers on Capitol Hill. 

In a letter being released Tuesday, the leaders of the House Foreign Affairs Committee complained to World Intellectual Property Organization Director General Francis Gurry about his agency's refusal to cooperate. They accused the agency of locking down key documents while trying to root out the whistle-blowers who alerted others to the scandal -- and then rebuffing the State Department's request for an outside investigation. 

"We are outraged by your recent refusal on the basis of 'confidentiality,' of a request by the U.S. Department of State to conduct an independent, external investigation into how and why these transactions happened," wrote Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., and Howard Berman, D-Calif., chairwoman and ranking member of the committee, respectively. "There is no rational basis for this refusal. ...  On the face of it, the documentary record, coupled with your public statements, shows a shocking and intolerable lack of judgment, together with an inclination to disregard the legitimate concerns of Member States and to retaliate against staff who are simply trying to tell the truth. 

Read more:


Washington, D.C. — Today, H.R. 2059, which would end taxpayer funding of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), was voted out of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, moving the pro-life legislation one step closer to a full vote on the House floor. Co-sponsored by Representative Mike Kelly (PA-03), H.R. 2059 would prohibit funding for UNFPA based on its longstanding support of and participation in China’s one-child policy, which involves forced sterilization and coercive abortion to meet the nation’s strict population control mandate, and has resulted in a decrease in China’s population by as many as 400 million people.

For years, the United States refused to fund the UNFPA. However, in March 2009, President Obama reinstated funding, and has since contributed $145 million in taxpayer funds to the controversial program. If enacted, H.R. 2059 would save $400 million over 10 years by eliminating all U.S. contributions to UNFPA.

Rep. Kelly issued the following statement:

“The United States once took a principled stance against the UNFPA and its support of China’s inhumane practice of forced sterilization and coercive abortion. The fact that the Obama administration reversed this longstanding position shows a dangerous shift in our foreign policy. At its core, the UNFPA threatens the very rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness that our great nation believes are afforded to all men and women.

“This program is an affront to our American values, and a threat to human rights everywhere. It’s an outrage that taxpayer dollars have funded this program to the tune of $145 million in recent years, and I’ll continue my efforts to make sure that this indefensible chapter in our foreign aid history comes to an immediate close.”

Washington, DC – This week, freshman Congressman Jeff Duncan introduced multiple amendments to the FY12 Foreign Relations Authorization Act that passed the full House Foreign Affairs Committee. Each of the amendments passed and were adopted into the final version of the bill that passed out of the full committee late Thursday evening.

“Our government borrows $0.43 cents of every dollar we spend as a nation, and some in Congress still think we’re the world’s piggy bank” said Duncan. “We’re $14.3 trillion in debt. Why should we pay countries to hate us when they’ve shown they’re willing to do it for free?”

One of Duncan’s amendments bars funding for governments who oppose the United States position a majority of the time in the United Nations.

Another Duncan amendment, which he co-authored with Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX), requires stricter financial accountability for foreign aid projects. Currently, most foreign aid projects are not required to report how much money is being spent, in which country, or who is in charge of administering the funds. The Duncan/Poe Amendment requires every project to be able to provide this basic information on a website for all Americans to see. Additionally, Duncan introduced a related amendment that requires for-profit USAID contractors who receive more than half of their funding from the government to disclose how much money their top five employees earn. This is to insure that the majority of aid money given actually reaches the area of need and doesn't go into the pockets of contractors.

Congressman Duncan also introduced another amendment that prohibits any funding for the Muslim Brotherhood and its affiliates. Duncan’s amendment ensures that no American tax dollars go to that organization.

Finally, Duncan introduced an amendment to elevate the importance of international religious freedom in the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Duncan’s amendment would require that UNHCR conduct a review of refugee-based claims and provide religious freedom training to their staff to prevent future grief for refugees on religious freedom grounds.

“Today, we are taking serious steps to reform our foreign aid programs,” Duncan said. “As a nation, we are more than $14 trillion in debt. Yet some Democrats still want to send large amounts of tax dollars overseas to people who hate us. These amendments are a good step in the right direction for our country. The United States has no business giving money away to countries and groups who seek to do us harm.”

Washington, D.C. — Yesterday, U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (PA-03) introduced a resolution urging President Obama to formally submit the Korea-United States Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) to Congress for immediate consideration and enactment. Representative Kelly’s legislation, H. RES. 266, urges prompt implementation of KORUS through legislative procedures set forth in the Bipartisan Trade Promotion Authority Act of 2002. Originally signed in June 2007 and later modified in December 2010, KORUS removes obstacles to free and fair trade with South Korea by reducing tariffs and other non-tariff barriers imposed by South Korea on U.S. exporters. Representative Kelly issued the following statement:
“While countries from around the world have moved closer to finalizing free trade agreements with South Korea, America has sat on the sidelines, bickering about which play to make instead of getting in the game.
“We can’t compete in the global market if we keep tying our hands, sacrificing progress for the sake of protectionism. The only one to lose in this scenario is America and the American worker.
“As the tenth largest exporter in the U.S., Pennsylvania’s businesses exported $34.8 billion in goods in 2010 alone, and in 2008 roughly 285,000 jobs in Pennsylvania were related to the export industry. KORUS will only work to expand our exports, especially in key sectors such as chemicals, steel, machinery, beef, dairy, and poultry. KORUS will create tens of thousands of jobs that our nation and the Commonwealth terribly need, and the time to act is now.”
Last week, South Korea ratified its free trade agreement with the European Union, putting this agreement on schedule for an effective date of July 1. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce warns that 345,000 U.S. jobs are at risk of being lost if this agreement, and other major agreements that South Korea is aggressively pursuing, go into effect before KORUS.

Washington, DC- Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) issued the following statement in reaction to confirmation of the killing of Osama Bin Laden by American forces in Pakistan:

“Congratulations to our U.S. special forces teams and intelligence community who were able to carry out this mission to kill Osama Bin Laden successfully,” said Rohrabacher. “Better late than never.”

“This doesn’t mean the War on Terror is over,” Rohrabacher continued. “What it does mean is that no one can kill scores of Americans and think they can get away with it.

“Tonight, America is celebrating while Osama bin Laden burns in hell.”

LITTLE ROCK – Congressman Tim Griffin (AR-02), a member of the House Armed Services and Foreign Affairs Committees, issued the following statement today in response to reports of Osama Bin Laden’s death:

"The death of Osama Bin Laden is great news for the United States, our allies and the world. This is an historic moment for our nation. Let there be no doubt: this is a major achievement and a victory for all Americans, especially for the men and women of the U.S. military and intelligence communities, who have sacrificed, along with their families, for the last ten years. While Bin Laden's death is a very important event, our nation must remain committed to vigorously fighting the war on terror in order to protect our nation from those who would do us harm."

Latest Statements
Posts by Subcommittee
Connect with Us
Blog Archives