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Tipsheet

Kirby: This Was Not Ransom, Just a Coincidence

You’ve heard about the bombshell report from The Wall Street Journal. After interviewing Iranian officials, they discovered that the Obama administration gave Iran $400 million at the same time detained Americans were being released. The fishy timing suggested it was ransom.

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State Department Spokesman John Kirby appeared on “America’s Newsroom” on Fox News on Tuesday to address rumors that the payment was made in conjunction with the releases. Was the WSJ piece wrong? Bill Hemmer asked.

“Yes, WSJ is wrong,” Kirby said. “It wasn’t ransom.”

Both he and President Obama have talked about it on the record since January, he reminded Hemmer.

“Everyone has been up front and honest about the payment.”

Who are you going to believe, Kirby urged, an unnamed anonymous Iranian defense official - or the White House?

These were two separate processes, he insisted, while acknowledging the “coincidental nature of the timing.”

“They’re grasping at air – it’s not ransom.”

Hemmer noted that paying ransom to a belligerent regime can lead to dangerous consequences. For instance, if Iran engages in terror, the U.S. may be guilty of funding it.

Kirby agreed and repeated his claim.

“We don’t pay ransom – it is our policy.” 

Col. Ralph Peters appeared on "America's Newsroom" soon after Kirby and contradicted his claims. 

If it was not a secret ransom deal, he asked, "why was it done in the dead of night?"

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