Military Leaders: No One Asked Our Advice on Iranian Hostage Payment

Cortney O'Brien
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Posted: Sep 24, 2016 11:15 AM
Military Leaders: No One Asked Our Advice on Iranian Hostage Payment

The Obama administration had no intention of seeking the military's advice when they sent that controversial $1.7 billion payment to Iran the same day four American hostages were released back to the States, it would appear. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) made the discovery at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Thursday. At the meeting, he asked both Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Joseph Dunford about any information they may be able to provide about the payment, only to find they apparently had never been briefed on the reported ransom. 

Cruz's office provided the relevant exchanges in a press release.

Sen. Cruz: General, in your judgment, was flying $1.7 billion in unmarked cash to give to the Iranian government incentivizing positive behavior from Iran?

Gen. Dunford: Senator, I’m not trying to be evasive, but I don’t know the details of that arrangement, and it really was a political decision that was made to provide that money…

Sen. Cruz: Does it concern you, if the United States is now in the business of paying ransom to terrorist governments for releasing Americans, the incentive that we face for future terrorists and future terrorist governments to attempt to kidnap and hold for ransom Americans?

Sec. Carter: …I don’t know all the details of it, and the Chairman and I were not involved in that. It is a decision that was taken by the law enforcement and the diplomatic community…

Cruz slammed the White House for its history of "neutering" itself and "ignoring one transgression after another from our enemies." Congress is making the effort to prevent ransom payments to Iran in the future, with the House passing the Prohibiting Future Ransom Payments to Iran Act (H.R. 5931) on Thursday night.