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Thursday, August 23, 2007

NGOs receiving USAID Funds Now Must Submit People to Govt Background Checks

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -

The United States plans to screen thousands of people employed by aid organizations that receive funds from the U.S. Agency for International Development looking for possible links to terror organizations, The Washington Post reported on Thursday.

Outlined in a recent Federal Register notice, the program demands for the first time that nongovernmental organizations file detailed information on key personnel who apply for or manage funds distributed by the U.S. aid agency, the Post said.

The Federal Register notice said the program could involve 2,000 people and "will become effective on August 27," the last day that public comments about it are to be submitted, according to the report.

The Post said organizations would be required to submit a broad range of information on key personnel, including name, address, date and place of birth, citizenship, Social Security and passport numbers.

The data collected "will be used to conduct national security screening" to ensure these persons have no connection to entities or individuals "associated with terrorism" or "deemed to be a risk to national security," the Post reported, citing the Federal Register notice.

The newspaper said such screening normally involves sending the data to the FBI and other police and intelligence agencies to see if negative information surfaces.

A requirement to turn over telephone and fax numbers and e-mail addresses is an indication the information would be checked against data collected as part of a terrorist screening program run by the U.S. intelligence community, the Post reported.

Until now, nongovernmental organizations had been required to check their own employees and then certify to AID that they were certain no one was associated with people or groups designated as terrorists by the U.S. government, the Post said.

The Rest @ Reuters Africa

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