Fox News host Shannon Bream clearly got under the skin of National Security Council spokesman John Kirby when she asked him about the part Iran may have played in the Hamas terror attack on Israel.
Bream asked Kirby about The Wall Street Journal article which linked the $6 billion the Biden administration sent to Iran and the Middle East nation’s funding of Hamas in a tense discussion on “Fox News Sunday.”
“Iranian security officials helped plan Hamas’s Saturday surprise attack on Israel and gave the green light for the assault at a meeting in Beirut last Monday,” the WSJ report noted.
“Does the White House need a direct link on this specific attack to hold Iran in some way accountable?” Bream asked Kirby, who appeared to be irritated with the line of questioning.
“Well, of course, Iran is broadly complicit here. And of course, the resourcing and training they’ve given to Hamas has obviously helped Hamas function and be able to conduct the terrorist attacks that they have been able to conduct,” the Biden official replied.
“We have held Iran accountable. There have, the attacks on our troops in Iraq and Syria have greatly decreased because of our retaliatory strikes,” he continued, defending the administration.
“There should be no anybody mistaking the fact that we haven’t held, continue to hold Iran accountable. Think about the support they’re giving to Russia and Ukraine and the additional sanctions that we put on them for sending drone technology. So we’re course, we’re holding them accountable,” Kirby said.
“We just haven’t seen anything in the intel that we’ve been looking at that directly points to specific participation by Iran in these attacks. It doesn’t mean we aren’t still looking for it, just haven’t found it,” he went on, noticeably not satisfying Bream.
“So when you say holding them accountable, you know the pushback you’re going to get on that. A lot of people out there say, well, we unfreeze $6 billion of their money, but giving them access to that, that doesn’t look like we’re punishing them,” the Fox News host pressed. “Is there actually a string attached somewhere? And if not, why not? Why would we open up $6 billion to them without some kind of strings to pull it back, if in a situation like this?”
“So not a dime has been spent,” Kirby responded, insisting that Iran has not touched the money.
“Not a dime has been accessed. The Iranian regime never gets it. The money was never frozen when it was in South Korea any more than it was frozen when it got to Qatar,” he added, before finding a way to pin some blame on former President Donald Trump and his administration.
“Will they ever be able to access it? Is it truly that you can rephrase it in essence or whatever terminology you’d like to use so they don’t have access to it?” Bream asked, looking for clarification.
“They have not accessed it. We are watching it,” the White House spokesman insisted, prompting Bream to press, “We know that, but can they?”
“We’re watching it like a hawk. Shannon, I’m telling you that we are keeping tabs on every single dime of that. None of it is accessed by the Iranians,” an exasperated Kirby replied, as the discussion continued to go back and forth.
“We haven’t made it easier, Shannon,” he said. “This idea that we’re just somehow turning a blind eye, whistling past the graveyard as Iran supports terrorist networks is just not true.”