News of the Tautological

Daily Best of the Web   —   Posted on September 7, 2016

News of the Tautological

The following is an excerpt from OpinionJournal’s “Best of the Web” at The Wall Street Journal written by the editor, James Taranto.

News of the Tautological
“Judge Removed After Allegedly Allowing Lawyer to Hear Cases, Wear Robe”—headline, Chicago Tribune, Aug. 17

Cash and Kerry
Earlier this month, we noted The Wall Street Journal’s scoop: the State Department had delivered $400 million worth of euros and Swiss francs to Iran contemporaneously with the release of four Americans who were being held prisoner. The administration denied the cash payment was ransom for the hostages, and the New York Times scoffed at the scoop.

Yesterday John Kerry’s State Department admitted the payment and the release were connected, and the Times did its best to put the best face on it:

In fact, it appears that the money was not a ransom payment; sooner or later the United States would have had to pay Iran back for the military goods it never delivered.

But in recent weeks a series of stories, chiefly in The Wall Street Journal, established that the planeload of cash sent to Iran that day was timed to ensure that the American citizens, aboard a plane leaving Iran, were released first, before Iranian officials could put their hands on the money.

On Thursday, [State Department spokesman John] Kirby conceded that while the deals were negotiated separately, the timing of the final transactions was linked. “As we said at the time, we deliberately leveraged that moment to finalize these outstanding issues nearly simultaneously,” he said.

Seems as if what they’re trying to say is that America was holding the money hostage and Iran paid the ransom in people.

[Note: The excerpts above are from the Aug. 18 and 19 BOTW archives.] For more “Best of the Web” from The Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto click here.