Obama administration blocking congressional inquiries into how $1.3 billion was sent to Iran

The Obama administration is stonewalling Congress by refusing to cooperate with congressional inquiries into how $1.3 billion was sent to Iran as part of the deal to release our hostages.

We already know that $400 million in cash was delivered as part of a $1.7-billion settlement of an outstanding debt owed to Iran.  But how the rest of that money was delivered and whom it was delivered to remains a mystery.

The question is important, if only to show that the Obama administration lied about why it was necessary to make a cash payment to the Islamic Republic.  They insist that the cash payment was necessary because there were no banking ties between the two countries that would facilitate a normal wire transfer of the funds.

But if the $1.3 billion was wired to Iran, it would blow up the administration's story and raise further questions about paying cash to a terrorist regime.

Washington Free Beacon:

The State and Treasury Departments declined on Tuesday to answer a series of questions from theFree Beacon about the method in which U.S. taxpayer funds were paid to Iran.

The administration is also withholding key details about the payment from leading members of Congress, including Sens. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) and Mike Lee (R., Utah), who launched an inquiryinto the matter earlier this month.

The Departments of State, Treasury, and Justice all failed to respond to the inquiry by Monday’s deadline, according to congressional sources tracking the matter.

“The already bizarre circumstances surrounding the $1.7 billion payment to the Islamic Republic have only gotten stranger in the weeks since we learned of the $400 million in cash that was sent to the Iranian regime last January 16th,” Cruz said to the Free Beacon. “If this payment was, as the Obama administration insists, a straightforward settlement of an old debt that it would have cost America more to contest, why all the secrecy?”

The State Department said it does not know how the remaining $1.3 billion was transferred or to whom it was transferred. Cruz described this disclosure as “confounding.”

“It is even more confounding that the State Department spokesman claimed Monday not to know how or to whom the residual $1.3 billion was transferred, although he does know the transaction happened,” Cruz said. “That kind of money doesn’t just transfer itself to a rogue regime still under heavy U.S. sanctions for its sponsorship of terrorism. Someone in our government must have the answers the American people deserve.”

Cruz and Lee are seeking to determine if these payments violated U.S. law. They also requested information about the U.S. officials who negotiated and carried out the payments.

“While we are deeply concerned about the national security implications of the administration’s cash-for-hostages scheme, especially in light of reports that Iran has already arrested additional Americans, the purpose of this letter is to inquire about the legality of the payment,” the senators wrote in an Aug. 12 letter.

Reporter Claudia Rosette uncovered 13 identical payments to Iran from a State Department fund that pays foreign claims against the U.S. government.  While the evidence suggests that the payment was made via routine wire transfer, there is no definitive word on just how the money got to Iran and whom or what it was sent to. 

It's obvious the administration never expected that details of the transfer would ever need to be made public, which is why it's important to find out how it was accomplished.  If laws were broken, this stonewalling is an attempt to impede Congress in the lawful execution of their constitutional responsibility to investigate wrongdoing by the executive branch.

You can go to jail for that.  Just ask Ollie North.