Munich plus cash

It was just one week ago that the Wall Street Journal published the story by Jay Solomon and Carol Lee about the Obama administration sending Iran $400 million in cash while the Iranians released some American hostages, triggering criticism that the payment had been a ransom. The Obama administration has denied this characterization of the payment and President Obama has himself mocked it in his patented style.

It turns out, however, that the appearances of the $400 million payment makes out the case for ransom in Marx Brothers’ style. Who ya gonna believe, President Obama or your lyin’ eyes?

As Omri Ceren put it in an email yesterday: “There are two flights in play: the plane with the hostages leaving Iran and the plane with the money arriving in Iran. If the hostages were held until the money arrived, it would strongly suggest a ransom. Last Thursday pastor Saeed Abedini, one of the freed hostages, told [FOX Business News] that the hostages’ plane was indeed held up until the Iranians confirmed a second plane had arrived.” Video of the interview and the related FBN story is posted here.

Omri noted that reporters have asked about the planes coming and going at the press briefings since the Journal story came out. Yesterday State Department press office director Elizabeth Kennedy Trudeau signaled the end of the road on this particular line of inquiry (video below). Responding to the AP’s Matt Lee, Trudeau deadpanned: “I appreciate the question.” On the nub of the question, Trudeau announced: “As we’ve said, we’re not going to get into a tick-tock. We’ve explained what the delay was for the plane with the Americans leaving, and I’ll leave it at that.”

Andy McCarthy asks the obvious questions: “[I]f everything is on the up and up, why is it so hard to get information about this transaction? Why has the administration stonewalled Congress on the details of this ‘wholly legitimate’ transfer of untraceable cash via an unmarked cargo plane in the dark of night?” (Do read the whole thing.)

One could observe in his sarcastic defense of the ransom payment last week how evasive and thin-skinned Obama is about the ransom. In his New York Sun editorial “Barack Obama’s Munich,” Seth Lipsky relates this interesting story on Israel’s qualms about the Iran deal despite Obama’s representation to the contrary last week:

Israel’s defense ministry, now headed by Avidgdor Lieberman, put out a statement noting that the Munich pact “didn’t prevent the Second World War and the Holocaust precisely because its basis, according to which Nazi Germany could be a partner for some sort of agreement, was flawed.” It marked the fact that “the leaders of the world then ignored the explicit statements of Hitler and the rest of Nazi Germany’s leaders.” Those things, the ministry said “are also true about Iran, which also clearly states openly that its aim is to destroy the state of Israel.”

This reportedly infuriated the President — so much so that, according to dispatch in the Jewish Press, the American envoy in Jerusalem, Dan Shapiro, told Mr. Lieberman “directly” that “unless he wants his name on the failure of the American military aid deal, he must apologize ASAP.” The result was an apology, of sorts, from Mr. Lieberman, who claimed that his ministry’s earlier statement “was not intended to make a direct comparison, neither historically nor personally” with the Munich pact.

“We are sorry if it was interpreted otherwise,” the statement said, adding that the dispute does not diminish Israel’s “deep appreciation” for America.

Seth concludes:

To us, at least, it is shocking that the Obama administration takes such umbrage at criticism of the Iran pact. Mr. Obama started this latest imbroglio by trying to palm off on a noble public the idea that Israel supports the pact. It doesn’t support it. And the degree of umbrage he took over the analogy to Munich is an over-reaction. The President protests too much.

Why so stingy with the facts? Why so generous with the lies? And why so sensitive? As we used to say, the truth hurts.

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