Friendly Fire Paralyzes U.S. Internet Strategy
Just weeks after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton complained to Congress that America is losing the information war against Al Qaeda, China and Russia, it appears that Clinton’s own State Department is one of the impediments to success.
For more than 18 months, the State Department has hoarded nearly $30 million, appropriated by Congress for Internet freedom measures across the globe. While that money sits in a State Department bank account, repressive regimes are blocking Internet access and restricting information. China and Russia have even developed their own English-language broadcasts.
What’s worse is that the State Department is withholding the funding from another government agency that wants to put the money to use immediately. The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), which oversees the U.S. international broadcasting complex is also home to a modest Internet freedom staff of experts, who are far more tech savvy than anything the State Department can boast.