The official and others spoke to POLITICO on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to talk to the media.
What the outlets did: In response to the agency’s demands, Middle East Broadcasting Networks provided a paper check of $500,000, and Radio Free Asia provided a check worth $2.9 million, according to two people familiar with the matter. Until last year, the OTF was a program of Radio Free Asia. It’s unclear how Radio Free Europe responded to the order.
The plans: USAGM wants to reallocate the money to other internet freedom projects, and according to a separate agency employee, USAGM officials have been in touch in recent months with the maker of Ultrasurf, software that provides internet firewall circumvention code and which was developed by a member of the Falun Gong, a persecuted Chinese religious minority.
For the last several years, USAGM had refused to provide money for Ultrasurf