Despite what many on the left try to claim, Obama’s time in office was filled with scandal. He repeatedly abused his power and likely engaged in illegal activity. One of his biggest scandals involved Iran.
While Obama was president, the Treasury Department negotiated with Iran to have several American prisoners released. After they were set free, the U.S. government then sent millions to Iran, leading some activists to believe the money was payment for letting the American prisoners go. They are concerned that paying a ransom in this way was an illegal abuse of power and want to know more about the secretive deal. To get more information, some activists are suing the federal government.
According to reports, Tom Fitton, the President of Judicial Watch, which is the government watchdog organization responsible for filing the lawsuit, says they hope to learn as much as possible about the potentially illegal exchange. “The Trump administration’s agencies should follow the law and release all they can about the Obama-Iran payoff scandal,” he said in reference to the suit, noting, “the Obama administration’s secretive $400 million payoff to the Iranian regime was an abuse of power and may have been illegal.”
Specifically, to figure out whether or not the money was, in fact, payment in exchange for the prisoners, Judicial Watch is suing the State and Treasury Departments for more information on the transfer. Their lawsuit, which was filed last month, is suing to obtain “all records related to the transfer of approximately $400 million in foreign currency to the Islamic Republic of Iran in January 2016. This request includes, but is not limited to, all related records of communications between any official, employee, or representative of any of the following entities: The Department of the Treasury, The Islamic Republic of Iran, The Executive Office of the White House, The Department of Defense, The Department of Justice, and The Department of State.”
The deal in question was made last year. Back in August, former President Obama and his administration sent a $400 million pallet of cash to Iran shortly after they released 4 American prisoners being held in Tehran. Given the timing, many believe the money was a ransom payment. However, since paying ransoms only encourages more kidnapping and unjustified detentions, our country has a strict policy against giving people money in exchange for the release of captives.
When asked why the money was sent in cash instead of wired, Obama tried to claim that we didn’t have a relationship with Iranian banks and couldn’t wire the money. “The reason that we had to give them cash is precisely because we are so strict in maintaining sanctions, and we do not have a banking relationship with Iran, that we couldn’t send them a check; and we could not wire the money,” Obama explained when asked at the time. However, this statement appears to have been a lie because several days later, the U.S. government wired Iran $100 million.
The Obama administration also tried to deny the fact that it was a ransom payment. They argued that the money they were giving was a part of an unrelated negotiation and that the timing was merely coincidental. John Kirby, a former State Department spokesperson, made it clear that “reports of a link between prisoner release & payment to Iran are completely false.”
However, this was later discovered to be untrue. When questioned by reporters, Kirby admitted, “if you are asking me was some connection there at the end game, I am not going to deny that.” He continued, “what I am saying is that because we had concerns that Iran may renege on the prisoner release … we, of course, naturally — and should be held to task if we didn’t — sought to maintain maximum leverage until after the Americans were released,” adding, “we wanted to keep as much leverage as possible. We believed that holding up that delivery was prudent, and we have [the] released Americans now.”
It is extremely important that the people in the Obama administration be held accountable for their actions. Those caught abusing their power or making illegal deals should be punished as severely as possible. Failing to do so jeopardizes our country’s national security.