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He compared the relationship between the two groups to two sports teams. “You’ve got two teams that both do the same thing but their players are different in how they function,” he explained. “Why would the Redskins pay for a draft pick that goes to the Miami Dolphins? They wouldn’t.”

The official cited his work over the course of a decade dealing with hostage situations in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Haqqani, he said, “benefits zero from the prisoner exchange. … Based on 10 years of working with those guys, the only thing that would make them move Bergdahl is money.”

The official is not the first to suggest that a ransom was likely paid. Oliver North, who was involved in the Iran-Contra scandal that freed American hostages in Tehran in exchange for the sale of American weapons to Iran, insisted on Wednesday that cash changed hands.

“Whether the Qataris paid it, or some big oil sheik, or somebody used our petrodollars, there was a ransom paid in cash for each one of them, my guess somewhere in the round numbers of $5 or 6 million to get Bergdahl freed,” North Bergdahl” target=”_blank”>told Newsmax.

Rubin agreed with the assessment, again citing the distinction between the Taliban and the Haqqani Network.

“The groups do have links, but if Bergdahl was held by Haqqani and we released Quetta Shura, it seems Bergdahl’s captors were seeking something other than the Taliban prisoners, got paid off, and Obama simply used the trade as an excuse to release master terrorists from Gitmo,” Rubin said.

The theory has not been confirmed—though State has yet to deny it either—but the senior intelligence official expressed concern that the United States may have “enriched a terrorist network.”

“We just funded them for the next 10 years is my guess,” he said.

• Lachlan Markay is a staff writer for the Washington Free Beacon. His Twitter handle is @lachlan. His email address is markay@freebeacon.com.