News and developments both at home and abroad this week gave us further evidence demonstrating that a foreign and national security policy based on appeasement and half measures makes us less safe. The Wall Street Journal broke the shocking news that the Obama Administration sent an unmarked cargo plane filled with $400 million in foreign currency to the Iranian government in January, which happened to be the same time that four American prisoners were released from wrongful captivity. While the Administration denies this was a ransom payment, it most certainly looks like one, and it likely signals Iran and other hostile regimes that the taking of Americans as hostages will be rewarded.
It has long been the policy of the United States not to negotiate with terrorists in such a fashion, knowing that it only invites further aggression by the hostiles. Additionally, we know that Iran is the world’s leading state sponsor of terror, and the easiest way to funnel money to terrorists is in cash – that is why it is against the law to provide such resources to designated sponsors of terror. The Obama Administration has shown yet again that in its desperation to reach a nuclear deal with Iran it made numerous accommodations for the sake of expediency and legacy-building rather than the safety of our country and our allies.
Our enemies are exploiting our lenience – we have seen countless examples of Iran being emboldened and reinvigorated by the nuclear deal as they test ballistic missiles in direct defiance of the agreement full well knowing they will not be held accountable. The House recently passed a new round of sanctions and related measures to push back on this Iranian aggression, but the President is unwilling to work with us in that effort for fear that one of his “signature accomplishments” will be tarnished. The safety and security of our citizens at home and abroad and our relationships with our allies far outweigh any concerns about one’s legacy.
As we have given Iran’s terror funding efforts a major boost, we also see that the threat of ISIS continues to evolve. We learned this week that a D.C. transit police officer was arrested and charged with aiding ISIS and that the United States began airstrikes in Libya to combat ISIS infiltration. It is clear that this terrorist organization has roots in numerous countries, including our own, and its reach is only continuing to grow due in large part to the fact that we continue to lack of comprehensive strategy for eliminating the threat. Such a strategy must be laid before the American people for thorough debate so they understand what it will truly take to eradicate this menace. The President prefers to take the smallest steps possible and assure everyone that it is under control. Clearly the developments this week and in past weeks demonstrate that is not the case; we must do better.
In the House, national security remains a top priority, and I urge the President to put aside political calculation to fully commit in joining us in this critical effort against Islamic extremism and terrorism wherever it may persist to make our world a safer place.
If you need any additional information or if we may be of assistance to you, please visit my website at hurt.house.gov or call my Washington office: (202) 225-4711, Charlottesville office: (434) 973-9631, Danville office: (434) 791-2596, or Farmville office: (434) 395-0120.
Robert Hurt represents the Fifth District of Virginia in Congress.