Brett McGurk, President Obama’s special envoy on the Iran deal, admitted at a State Department press briefing on Friday that major concessions to Iran, characterized by critics as ransom for U.S. hostages, were signed on the same day, evidently in the same room.
The question posed to McGurk concerned three documents kept in a SCIF (Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility), whose dates were curiously altered after the fact.
One of those documents involved the release of Iranian terrorism suspects, which was publicly acknowledged; one concerned the now-infamous $1.7 billion in cash paid to Iran, which the administration was much less eager to discuss with the American people; and the third pertained to the lifting of sanctions against Iran’s Bank Sepah, a secret side deal with Iran we only learned about a week ago.
McGurk said of these documents:
What I can really say about that, as I think’s been discussed many times here by John and others, we had a number of strands of diplomacy come together at the exact same time on the same day. I mean, we had a very difficult 24 hours with the Iranians to finalize the prisoner trade.
So, a number of things were going on. We wanted to get a lot of business done the same day. There were a number of documents signed on that final day. And so, that’s really what happened that final day.
Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Mike Pompeo (R-KS) seem to think we still do not have the full story on the Iran hostage deal. On Friday, they sent a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch asking for more information on the Justice Department’s role in the cash payoff to Iran, asking exactly who approved tapping into the Treasury Department’s Judgment Fund for the money.
Noting the Attorney General is legally required to certify that payments from this fund are made “in the interest of the United States,” Rubio and Pompeo asked Lynch, “Please explain how sending billions of dollars in cash to the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism is in our country’s best interest.”
They also asked about a mysterious payment of $848k made even before the Iran nuclear deal was signed, a payment approved by Lynch.