In no uncertain terms, the Defense Department on Monday disputed the allegations that the United States paid a ransom to secure the release of Sgt. Bow Bergdahl.
“There was no money exchanged for Bergdahl’s release,” Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby told Politico.
The prospect of the U.S. paying money to Bergdahl’s captors has become a huge source of conservative criticism in recent days. The Washington Free Beacon cited an unnamed “senior intelligence official” last week who “insisted that there is reason to believe that cash changed hands as part of the deal.”
Lt. Col. Oliver North has fueled this speculation, asserting last week that Bergdahl was a hostage of the Haqqani network.
North, a central figure in the Iran-Contra arms-for-hostages scandal of the 1980s, estimated that the ransom was likely in the range of $5 million to 6 million.