Back when the Iran Deal was being negotiated, we learned that the State Department had authorized secret “side deals” to handle matters they didn’t want to discuss in front of Congress. We’ve just learned the answer to one of the important questions: did the President know that secrets were being kept from Congress?
The answer is yes.
The Obama administration secretly organized an airlift of $400 million worth of cash to Iran that coincided with the January release of four Americans detained in Tehran, according to U.S. and European officials and congressional staff briefed on the operation afterward.
Wooden pallets stacked with euros, Swiss francs and other currencies were flown into Iran on an unmarked cargo plane, according to these officials. The U.S. procured the money from the central banks of the Netherlands and Switzerland, they said.
Pallets of cash have a predictable effect on hostage-takers. Want to guess what it was?
When Iranian authorities this week confirmed the arrest of an Iranian-American from San Diego visiting his ailing mother in his country of birth, it rang familiar.
A father-and-son pair of Iranian-Americans have also been imprisoned in Iran for months, with little news of their detention leaking out. Journalist Jason Rezaian, also a dual national, was released in January as part of a prisoner swap as the Iran nuclear deal took effect.
And that’s only the Americans.
It is illegal for the United States government to pay for hostages to be released from captivity. This law exists for a good reason. The reason is that providing incentives to hostage-takers means that you get more hostages. As with anything else, if you provide incentives for the behavior you get more of the behavior.