A Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee insisted that despite the Obama administration releasing Iranian prisoners accused of being key to Tehran’s nuclear weapons program, the U.S. is in a “much safer place now.”
“We are in a much safer position right now having Donald Trump only deal with having to deal with one nuclear enemy — North Korea and not two,” California Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell told The Daily Caller Wednesday.
Swalwell added, “You know we’ve got prisoners back also. I think you know we probably could have handled it better if those reports are true with the Department of Justice lawyers and the FBI agents who worked so hard. On those cases. But at the end of the day you know dealing with Iran and their bad acts is much easier when they don’t have a nuclear weapon than if it wasn’t nuclear.”
Reports surfaced Monday that the Obama administration obscured information that, as part of the prisoner exchange with Iran, the U.S. released men accused of giving the Iranian regime pertinent military gear and electronics which could enhance its nuclear program.
Under the terms of the Iranian nuclear deal the United States spearheaded along with other nations, the U.S. would release the seven Iranian prisoners and drop charges against 14 fugitives in return for the release of American prisoners, including Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian.
Three of the seven released from U.S. custody — Bahram Mechanic, Khosrow Afghahi and Tooraj Faridi — were indicted with giving Iran American-made equipment that could be used with missile systems, Politico first reported.
However, by letting so many Iranians off the hook for a wide range of violations, the previous administration essentially announced what the United States was willing to put up with.
“This is a scandal,” Valerie Lincy, executive director of the nonpartisan Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control, told Politico. “The cases bear all the hallmarks of exactly the kinds of national security threats we’re still going after. It’s stunning and hard to understand why we would do this.”
Swalwell agrees with former Obama administration officials and believes the released the Iranians could still be prosecuted.
“We should we should track those individuals and make sure that they’re not committing any sanction violations or any criminal acts, but right now, I think, regardless of how you feel about this president, for any president, having to deal with only one nuclear enemy is better than having to deal with two,” Swalwell said.