The Clarion Project, a watchdog group known for its groundbreaking documentaries on extreme ideologies, compiled a report this month revealing the billions of dollars that colleges and universities in America have taken from foreign entities — including adversarial states.
The Clarion Project launched its probe into foreign investment and influence in the American education system after the Department of Education (DOE) announced in June it was investigating Georgetown University and Texas A&M University “as part of a broader push to monitor international money flowing to American colleges,” the Associated Press reported.
Using data the DOE has collected based on a federal law that requires colleges to report contracts and donations of $250,000 or more, Clarion issued a report this month that revealed that, since 2012, these institutions have received more than $10 billion from these foreign entities.
Qatar – which, according to the U.S. State Department, has made gains in fighting terrorism but still hosts entities that sponsor and support terrorism – is at the top of the list with a staggering $1.4 billion dollars given to 28 universities, including $350,874,324 to Georgetown and $376,325,840 to Carnegie Mellon University.
Despite these sky-high figures, Ryan Mauro, director of Intelligence and a Shillman Fellow with the Clarion Project, told Breitbart News that, based on his investigation, the DOE statistics may not tell the whole story on foreign influence.
“These numbers are hard to fathom, but they are likely only the tip of the iceberg,” Mauro said. “There are two other figures we don’t have: The amount that the schools aren’t disclosing to the Education Department as required and the amount funneled by foreign entities using fronts.”
“For example, the Iranian regime used a front named the Alavi Foundation to funnel money to universities,” Mauro told Breitbart News. “Because that’s a U.S.-based organization, those amounts from Iran are not in the records.”
“Muslim Brotherhood fronts with ties to terrorism, such as the International Institute of Islamic Thought, are also able to donate to universities without the transfers showing up in these Education Department records,” Mauro said.
Mauro pointed to Clarion’s investigations into this issue, including an expose released in 2018 on how the Muslim Brotherhood has successfully used a front called the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) to fund, engage and train academics. The expose included a long list of professors tied to IIIT:
IIIT is a known entity of the Muslim Brotherhood, a foreign organization sponsored by foreign governments. IIIT has been investigated and nearly prosecuted for its links to foreign terrorist groups including Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. IIIT is known to have received significant foreign funding.
But, because IIIT is based in the U.S. and is (supposedly) a completely independent entity, its donations are not included in the Education Department records of foreign donations to universities and colleges.
“In some cases, the funding comes via government-tied entities with known links to subversion, spying, terrorism and extremist ideology,” the executive summary of Clarion’s latest report states. “For example, the terror-linked Qatar Foundation donated a jaw-dropping $33 million to Georgetown University in 2018.”
The June AP report revealed that, in regards to Georgetown and A&M, “records being sought by investigators go far beyond Qatar, and include dealings with China, Russia, and Saudi Arabia, and specific companies in those nations.”
“Investigators ordered both schools to disclose funding from Huawei or ZTE, the Chinese tech giants that some U.S. officials call a threat to national security,” AP reported. “Georgetown is being asked to detail money it received from any sources in Saudi Arabia or Russia, including Kaspersky Lab, a Russian cybersecurity company.”
But these schools are just two of dozens of U.S. schools taking money from these and other foreign entities.