Oh the transparency…
Using information available on a publicly visible website, Claudia Rosett of the New York Sun discovered that $1.3Billion in wire transfers to Iran happened just two days after a mysterious cash transfer had taken place using something called ‘The Judgement Fund.”
The 13 payments that may explain what happened are found in an online database maintained by the Judgment Fund. A search for “Iran” since the beginning of this year turns up nothing. But a search for claims in which the defendant is the State Department turns up 13 payments for $99,999,999.99.
They were all made on the same day, all sharing the same file and control reference numbers, all certified by the U.S. Attorney General, but each assigned a different identification number. They add up to $1,299,999,999.87, or 13 cents less than the $1.3 billion Messrs. Obama and Kerry announced in January.
When the White House got caught using an unmarked plane to deliver $400 million in foreign cash to Iran on January 17th, the excuse was that it had to be in cash because the United States doesn’t have a banking relationship with the radical islamic state.
The payment is the settlement of a decades-old dispute over returning Iranian funds from a weapons purchase placed by the government of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi before he was ousted. And the delivery of the payment in foreign currency, officials say, was logical because U.S. sanctions prohibit deals with Iran using dollars and the U.S. has no banking relationship with the country.
“The only bit of news that is relevant on this is the fact that we paid cash,” Obama said. Restrictions on U.S. banking relationships with Iran mean “we could not send them a check, and we could not wire them the money.”
If it was illegal to send a check or wire transfer due to U.S. sanctions on the 17th, how did the State Department get away with wiring money to Iran on the 19th?
When asked about the use of cash on January 17th and the subsequent use of wired funds on January 19th, State Department spokesman Mark Toner avoided answering specific questions about the money specifically saying that he had “no comment on it.”
The State Department describes the Judgement Fund on it’s own website this way (emphasis mine):
The Judgment Fund is a permanent, indefinite appropriation available to pay final money judgments and awards against the United States. The Judgment Fund is also available to pay compromise settlements entered into by the U.S. Department of Justice related to actual or imminent litigation, but only if a judgment on the merits in that litigation would be payable from the Judgment Fund.
Congressional efforts to get answers on the many controversies arising from these events have been stymied by the Obama administration.
Journalistic efforts to get answers from the State Department spokesmen aren’t going much better.