White House denies it ransomed hostages . . . "We would not, we have not, we will not, pay a ransom to secure the release of U.S. citizens. That's a fact. That is our policy and it is one that we have assiduously followed," he said. "The only people who are making that suggestion are right-wingers in Iran who don't like the deal and Republicans in the United States that don't like the deal." But extraordinary method of making the payment — via dollars converted into euros, Swiss francs and other currencies, loaded on pallets and then flown on an unmarked cargo plane — was first disclosed in the Wall Street Journal Wednesday, launching a new round of protests from Capitol Hill. USA Today
In other news, the White House also denied that yesterday was Wednesday.
White House hid ransom details from Congress . . . The Obama administration took steps to withhold from lawmakers the details of a $400 million cash payout to Iran and continues to rebuke inquiries from Congress for information about how another $1.3 billion in taxpayer funds was awarded to the Islamic Republic, according to multiple conversations with congressional sources apprised of the matter. U.S. officials familiar with the recent transfer of $400 million in hard currency to Iran withheld details of the exchange from Congress during briefings in classified and unclassified settings, the Washington Free Beacon has learned. Washington Free Beacon
Justice Department objected to timing of payment . . . "People knew what it was going to look like, and there was concern the Iranians probably did consider it a ransom payment," a person familiar with the discussions told the Wall Street Journal. The Journal also reported that Justice Department officials expressed concerns about both the number of Iranian prisoners freed by the U.S. and the number of sanctions violations cases that would be dropped as part of the two agreements. The report said most of their objections were overruled by the State Department. Fox News