PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Foreign policy analyst Ed Turzanski commented on reports that the Obama administration sent $400 million in foreign currencies to Iran that coincided with the release of four Americans earlier in the year.
Turzanski, the John Templeton Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, told Chris Stigall that this action will only encourage the Iranians to take more hostages.
“We are paying to ransom to people who have a long history of taking our citizens hostage and this another form of, thank you, sir, may I have another.”
He accused the President of abusing his authority by sending this payment as part of the broader nuclear deal reached last year.
“If the administration was going to hand over what’s supposed to be $1.7 billion, you would presume, given that it’s going to Iran, this would be the subject of Congressional discussion and Congress does have the power of the purse. This will come as a surprise to some, but not most, the Administration is co-mingling monies and has decided to stretch the bounds of Presidential authority to take money from certain purposes that had been approved by Congress and decided, what the heck, we’re going to give the Iranians the money anyway.”
Turzanski explained that the cash probably came from money kept secretly off the books for covert uses.
“First of all, this President is not constrained by the rules that have bound mere mortals in the past…Since 1947 [Presidents] have been able to turn to the Central Intelligence Agency and elements of the military and law enforcement who, on occasion, do acquire cash in a variety of methods. There is something known as a black budget within the government to fund Presidential operations as needed overseas. Over time, you do manage to acquire cash if you need it.”