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US Assistant Secretary of State gives incorrect testimony to Congress about PA salaries to terrorists

Excerpts from testimony by Assistant Secretary of State, Ambassador Anne W. Patterson at congressional Subcommittee Hearing on the Middle East and North Africa: The Administration's FY 2015 MENA Budget Request: Priorities, Objectives and Challenges, April 29, 2014:
Congressman Weber: Ambassador Patterson, do you have a dollar figure on the amount of stipends, or I forget what they call it, going to the terrorists in prison and the salaries?
Assistant Secretary Patterson: No I don't have a figure, this is, they pay families whose relatives are imprisoned and then they do pay some of these people after they're released and I don't have that figure...
Congressman Weber: If the PA is paying for terrorists in prison, we ought to also be willing to hit them with some economic sanctions of that sort, don't you agree?
Assistant Secretary Patterson: Sir, I think this obviously is a difficult problem, and when they pay the families of people that are in prison and they pay stipends, I would say that is a political prison and I frankly know that they're going to try and phase that out and we should give them an opportunity to do so.
Congressman Weber: But we can help them phase that out. We could give them some encouragement.
Assistant Secretary Patterson: I would be hard pressed to say which of the programs for the PA we should cut, I would be very hard pressed to say that.
Congressman Weber: Well, I think if we made it clear that we were cutting that dollar amount... Who brought this to light that they were paying terrorists in prison and the families of terrorists, the PA was, do you know?
Assistant Secretary Patterson: I don't know.
Congressman Weber: Why do you think we haven't acted on it to date?
Assistant Secretary Patterson: Because I think, one, that it is a political issue for the Palestinians, that these people are in jail, they have to provide for the families, and again I think that they plan to phase it out.
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Note: There is no evidence that the PA is planning to phase out terrorist salaries. To the contrary, in 2013 and 2014, PA officials have regularly been adding additional regulations and benefits for prisoners.

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