In order to keep money flowing to the Egyptian military without violating American law, the Obama administration is hoping to avoid being forced to label the overthrow of Egypt's president a "coup.” An investigation into last week’s removal of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi is currently being conducted and its outcome could determine the fate of billions of dollars of aid money.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, government officials said the White House has made it clear that continued aid to Egypt's military is a U.S. national security priority and that a coup finding would put that in jeopardy, The Huffington Post reported.
“This is a complex and difficult issue with significant consequences," said White House spokesman Jay Carney while speaking publicly on Monday. He said the U.S. decision on whether to declare a coup will be "based on the time line that is in the best interests of a democratic transition in Egypt that is consistent with our legal requirements and our national security interest.”
Sen. John McCain said what happened last week was clearly a coup and is calling for aid to be suspended.
"If millions of Egyptians come to believe that democracy offers them no opportunity to advance their goals peacefully, it will only fuel violence and extremism," McCain said.
The legal review is being led by state department lawyers. If there is a coup finding, the United States would be forced to cut off $1.5 billion in annual aid to Egypt because of a law forbidding aid to countries where an elected official is deposed by a military coup.