Judicial Watch issued an announcement today that it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the State and Treasury Department to acquire records on the previous Obama administration’s transfer of $400 million in foreign currency to Iran in January 2016.
Judicial Watch’s lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia last month. It was filed after the agencies failed to respond to the August 2016 FOIA requests seeking to get copies of all the records related to the transfer of nearly $400 million in foreign currency to Iran in January 2016.
Said request includes, but is not limited to all related records of communication 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 funds were sent in stacks of foreign currency on wooden pallets on an unmarked cargo plane were delivered to Tehran in August 2016, at about the same time Iran released five American hostages. The Obama administration insisted then that the cash payment was not intended as ransom for the hostages, but several Republican lawmakers questioned the move and said it was too coincidental to be true.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) minced no words and said then, “Paying Iran behind our backs, incentivizing further kidnappings of Americans while providing funds for terrorism, is as ignorant as it is wrong.”
Merely two weeks after an August 4 press conference in which President Barack Obama said the payment was not a “ransom,” the State Department confirmed that the U.S. handed over the cash only after Iran released the hostages.
The $400 million was the first installment of a $1.7 billion cash settlement the Obama administration paid Iran to resolve an arms deal that was signed before the 1979 Iranian Revolution, leading to the toppling of the pro-U.S. regime in Tehran.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said. “The Obama administration’s secretive $400 million payoff to the Iranian regime was an abuse of power and may have been illegal. The Trump administration’s agencies should follow the law and release all they can about the Obama-Iran payoff scandal.”