One might think President Barack Obama would have asked his top military officials to weigh in on his administration's decision in January to send $400 million in cash to Iran. After all, Iran is the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism, and terrorists prefer cash to wire payments because it's so difficult to track. And its armed forces have both directly and indirectly threatened the U.S. military in the Middle East.
But Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry did not consult Secretary of Defense Ash Carter or the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph Dunford.
This news came out of a hearing Thursday before the Senate Armed Services Committee. In response to a question from Republican Senator Ted Cruz about the cash payment to Iran, Carter made it clear that he had been out of the loop.
"We weren't involved in this," Carter said, adding that it was part of the settlement of a decades-long legal dispute between Iran and the U.S. over arms sales. "I don't know all the details of it, and the chairman and I were not involved in that. It is a decision that was taken by the law enforcement and diplomatic and I would refer you there."
When Dunford was asked about the cash payments, he responded: "I am not trying to be evasive but I don't know the details of that arrangement and it really was a political decision that was made to provide that money and I don't think it's appropriate that I comment on that."
Christopher Sherwood, a press officer at the Pentagon, later told me pretty much the same thing. "It was worked out through the administration. The Department of Defense had nothing to do with that."
And thus does the fissure between the Pentagon and the overlords widen.