State Department Won’t Answer Questions On $400 Million Cash Handoff
After refusing to divulge how the payment was transferred, the State Department has now refused to answer repeated requests about when it sent Iran a sum of $1.3 billion, which was part of the same settlement for which the Obama administration delivered $400 million in pallets of foreign currency flown aboard an unmarked jetliner in January. The cash was flown the same day five American hostages were released from Iranian custody.
The details about how and when the additional funds were sent are relevant to determining whether President Obama needed to pay Iran on the same day the hostages were released and whether the payment needed to be made in cash because the two countries had no banking relationship, as the president has said.
If the additional $1.3 billion were transferred around the time of the $400 million, it could raise questions as to why the $400 million needed to be sent separately. And if the $1.3 billion was not delivered in cash, it could raise further questions about the need for a cash drop off a mere hours before the hostages were set free by Tehran.
It has been widely reported that the $400 million was part of a dispute that arose after Iran in the late 1970s had purchased U.S. fighter jets while Tehran was still an American ally. After the country turned into an enemy in 1979, the U.S. halted delivery of the military equipment, thus triggering an international case in which Iran was asking The Hague arbitrators for $10 billion.
Following years of negotiations, the Obama administration finally agreed to settle the case for $1.7 billion – the initial $400 million plus another $1.3 billion in interest.
On Thursday, Breitbart Jerusalem reported that the State and Treasury Departments both told this reporter that the U.S. government transferred the remaining $1.3 billion but, despite numerous requests, neither State nor Treasury would provide an answer on how the Obama administration allegedly transferred the remaining $1.3 billion to Iran.
The latest twist in the saga came on Friday, when, after refusing to provide the method of transfer for the payment, a State Department spokesperson refused to tell Breitbart Jerusalem when the $1.3 billion was sent.
“We are not going to get into the tick-tock of specifics regarding the Hague Tribunal settlement payments,” the spokesperson stated.
A spokesperson for the Treasury Department did not respond to a request about the timing of the alleged payment.
The State Department’s refusal to comment on the timing stands in contrast to an August 4th press conference in which State Department spokesman Mark Toner was repeatedly asked about the timing of the $1.3 billion payment and Toner told reporters that he did not know and “can try to find that out.”
At issue is not simply the curious timing of the $400 million cash handoff, which took place hours before the hostages were released and was described as a ransom payment in Iranian media reports that cited senior Iranian defense officials. The Obama administration has denied the ransom claims, and has said that when the delivery was made in January, the White House publicly acknowledged the full payment amount.
Another issue is the need to transfer the $400 million in foreign cash pallets delivered to Iranian guards, a detail that was not disclosed by the administration until its revelation last week by the Wall Street Journal.
Regarding the need for cash, Obama has explained that the U.S. does not have a banking relationship with Tehran.
A spokesperson for the Judgement Fund confirmed that the payment for the compromise that was reached on interest, of approximately $1.3 billion, has indeed been provided out of the Fund.
The Fund spokesperson refused to comment on the mechanics of how a settlement payment was made or when the payment was transferred. The spokesperson did not reply to a follow-up question about whether the remaining $1.3 billion was transferred in cash or by any other means.
When asked about how the remaining $1.3 billion was transferred, a spokesperson for the State Department replied that the agency had “nothing to add beyond what the President and Secretary have already said on the subject.”
While refusing to comment on the timing, the spokesperson confirmed that the remaining $1.3 billion was indeed paid in full to Iran. The spokesperson also refused to provide comment to two separate requests about how the money was transferred.
Report Details ISIS Cover-Up
A damning investigation by House Republicans released on Wednesday has found that the intelligence arm of the U.S. Military’s Central Command (CENTCOM) routinely produced intelligence that “distorted, suppressed, or substantially altered” the results of the campaign against ISIS.
The 10 most troubling finds in the eyes of this reporter, who reviewed the House report, follow (in no particular order).
- Top CENTCOM leaders modified intelligence assessments to present an “unduly positive” assessment of combating ISIS and training Iraqi Security Forces (ISF).
- Intelligence analysts declined to be interviewed, possibly out of fear of reprisals from CENTCOM leadership, while the interviews that did take place were under the watchful eyes of DOD officials.
Additionally, the Joint Task Force requested interviews with four more analysts whose positions provided them with potential knowledge regarding the allegations. These analysts declined to be interviewed. Although they did not express their reasons for declining, the Joint Task Force is concerned that some of the analysts may have done so out of fear of potential reprisals for their testimony.
- CENTCOM intel agents operated within a “toxic” leadership environment.
- General Austin’s claim to Congress that ISIS was in a “defensive crouch” did not reflect the data possessed at the time by CENTCOM senior leaders.
- CENTCOM established an intelligence “fusion center” for ISIS-related intel, but kept out analysts whose views conflicted with senior intelligence leaders.
- Restrictions were implemented for analysts whose views dissented from the mainstream inside CENTCOM.
- Analysis was minimized in favor of details from coalition forces while intelligence was skewed to be “optimistic.”
- Shocking survey results showed analysts believed data was “distorted, suppressed, or substantially altered” by their supervisors.
- Even after whistleblower complaints and the “alarming” internal survey last year, the Pentagon took no steps to correct its allegedly distorted intelligence process.
- Mirroring the Benghazi House Committee’s complaints against the State Department, the Joint Task Force writes it “did not receive access to all the materials it requested” and details a process of denying information and records.