Payment contingent upon the release of a prisoner sounds suspiciously like a ransom. Come to think of it, it’s the dictionary definition.

If you missed John’s post last night about the big Wall Street Journal story that broke this open, read it now. John Kirby, State’s spokesman, swore up and down on Fox News two weeks ago that the payment couldn’t be a ransom because it wasn’t conditioned on receiving anything in return. It was a “completely separate process” from the prisoner release. Ultimately prisoners went free and also America released some money that it had seized from Iran in the past, but without a linkage between the two you can’t rightly call it a ransom. In fact, John points to a different State spokesman explicitly denying any contingency on August 4th:

Then the Journal story dropped, and now here’s Kirby today. Those of you who chose to believe your own lyin’ eyes instead of the official White House denials, come collect your winnings.