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Our Two-Faced Leader

We have heard it over and over, the policy of the U.S. Government is they don’t pay ransom for hostages. Apparently there are exceptions. Before Bowe Bergdahl was released in exchange for five high-ranking terrorists, the Pentagon paid a ransom to get him out.  But the intermediary who was supposed to give the money to Bergdahl’s captors purloined the cash.

The ransom payment was first disclosed by Rep. Duncan Hunter in a Nov. 5 letter to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. Mr. Hunter stated in the letter that Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) made the payment covertly as part of a release deal. But the money was stolen by the Afghan intermediary claiming to represent the Haqqani terrorist network.

“Given the significance of this matter, as well as the fact that Pentagon officials have denied that a payment was even considered — and you also said you were unaware of any such attempt — I ask you to immediately inquire with JSOC to determine the specific order of events,” said Mr. Hunter, California Republican and member of the House Armed Services Committee.

Mr. Hunter also asked Mr. Hagel whether ransom payments are being considered for other captives.

Ransom was not allowed to be paid to free the three Americans beheaded by ISIS, or my former teacher Warren Weinstein who is being held by the Taliban in Pakistan. The Obama administration pressures Israel to release terrorists as ransom also. Apparently the no ransom rule only applies when it is convenient to President Obama.

Disclosure of the ransom payment undermines a key financial element of President Obama’s strategy to counter the Islamic State — pressuring foreign governments, corporations and families of captives not to pay ransom. In a speech in September, David S. Cohen, Treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said the Islamic State made $20 million this year in ransoming hostages.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Tuesday that Mr. Obama “continues to believe, as previous presidents have concluded, that it’s not in the best interest of American citizens to pay ransoms to any organization, let alone a terrorist organization.”

“And the reason for that is simple: We don’t want to put other American citizens at even greater risk when they’re around the world,” he said.

Secretary of State John F. Kerry also said in a speech Tuesday that ransom payments will not be paid. Both officials spoke following the latest beheading of an American, Peter Kassig, by Islamic State terrorists.

Officials said the Bergdahl ransom was an unspecified large amount of money and that the exchange was handled by the Army’s elite Delta Force anti-terrorism squad. The FBI also was involved in the ransom payment attempt and was waiting inside Afghanistan’s border with North Waziristan when the release failed, confirming that it had been a scam.

The Pentagon’s spin on the payment is that the money was not technically a ransom. Instead, defense officials are claiming the cash was intelligence money paid to a source for information that would lead to the release of Sgt. Bergdahl.

Sure and those who like their insurance will be able to keep their insurance.

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