The blogosphere’s been buzzing about yesterday’s WorldNetDaily story alleging that terrorist groups received $2 million—earmarked for jihad munitions—in exchange for the release last August of two Fox News journalists who had been kidnapped.. Now, who knows if this is true, but something about it smells a little weird.
The sources for the story are all members of the terrorist groups alleged to be on the receiving end of the payout. They’re vague about exactly where it came from, but assert that “100 percent” of it was used for “our war against the Zionists,” explicitly rebuke a supposed pledge to abstain from such actions in the future, and express confidence that it will encourage future kidnappings.
My first thought is: Why the fuck would they say this? If it were true, it would surely make similar payoffs in the future far less likely. You’d think they’d want to keep this sort of transaction as discreet as possible, leaving the door open for another $2 mil sometime down the road. Burning your benefactors and announcing that any promises rendered as part of such a quid pro quo are worthless doesn’t seem like a very effective way of doing that.
On the other hand, getting a U.S. news source to run the story might well lead other groups in the region—whether terrorist or just mercenary—to think nabbing Western journalists is a potentially lucrative gig. And that might increase kidnappings whether the story is true or not.
I’m not saying that means we should assume the story’s wrong. But I’d take it with a grain or two of salt, given that the sources for it would appear to have more reason to leak it if it were false than if it were true.