Former CIA officer Phil Mudd warned that the so-called “healthcare bill” for Otto Warmbier, looks a lot like a ransom.
During a report with CNN’s Jake Tapper Thursday, Mudd said that more than anything it seems “weird” but said “it’s North Korea,” after all.
“The best defense is a good offense,” he quoted. “If you are the president and want to negotiate on missiles and nukes, someone is going to say you have to raise human rights, including people like Otto Warmbier. The North Koreans are saying not only do we not take responsibility for his killing but we tried to take care of this guy and you owe us $2 million.”
He also noted that legally he doesn’t think the United States could pay the bill because the sanctions in place would prevent it. It was a senior U.S. official who agreed to the deal, but Mudd said that if there was an injured American in a coma and we would only get them back with a signature on the paper, Mudd said he wouldn’t care what the demand was.
“There’s one broader policy question about whether you pay something like this, and no indication we have,” Mudd said. “This looks like a hostage negotiation, not the return of an injured American. If you start paying, and the Americans typically haven’t done this, hostage money, somebody is going to say, ‘Why don’t we take hostages because they’ll pay up.’ This has been a debate forever. You don’t pay for hostages. Typically we’ve said we won’t.”
Trump once attacked former President Barack Obama for giving what he called a ransom at the time to ensure American soldiers were returned after a Navy incident.
Watch Mudd’s full comments below: