National Security

Pompeo: Iran ‘Ransom’ Payment Is Obama’s Iran-Contra Scandal

Mike Pompeo
Mike Pompeo / AP

Rep. Mike Pompeo (R., Kan.) slammed the Obama administration on Wednesday for taking "lawless" steps to provide Iran with $400 million in "pallets of cash" as part of a so-called ransom payment to free imprisoned Americans, according to comments provided to the Washington Free Beacon.

Pompeo’s comments come on the heels of a Wall Street Journal report detailing secret efforts by the Obama administration to provide Iran with hard currency on the same day the Islamic Republic freed several imprisoned Americans.

Lawmakers and others have been claiming for months that the payment was part of a ransom meant to free Americans in Iranian captivity. The Obama administration has denied the charge.

"Reports of the U.S. paying Iran $400 million in pallets of cash, using other currencies in order to circumvent American law, is something of Hollywood films—and is reminiscent of the Iran Contra scandal," Pompeo told the Free Beacon in a statement. "Have we not learned we cannot trust the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism?"

"To tell the American people that the payment of $1.7 billion on the same day as four American hostages were released was just coincidence insults our common sense and borders on lawlessness," Pompeo added. "The result?  Three more Americans now sit languishing in Iranian prisons."

The Free Beacon first disclosed that Pompeo has led several inquiries into the Obama administration’s actions, though these inquiries have been stalled by U.S. officials.

"The moment President Obama announced he was paying Iran $1.7 billion, I launched an inquiry—asking specific questions about this money," Pompeo said. "The State Department refused to answer me, but we have continued pushing, questioning officials in classified and unclassified settings.  Thanks to the work of our independent press, we now have additional information that neither Iran nor the Obama administration wanted to reveal."