An American man was released by members of a Shiite militia in Iraq on Saturday. Randy Michael Hultz was apparently kidnapped by members of the Mahdi Army, a militia controlled by the anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. In a taped news conference Saturday two Iranian lawmakers turned Hultz over to U.N. officials. At the news conference Hultz was dressed in U.S. military fatigues and a U.S. military i.d. and a U.S. contractor i.d. with his name and picture on them were displayed.
Hultz was deployed in Iraq as a U.S. soldier in 2003. Afterward he returned to the embattled country as an “entrepreneur”, according to U.S. officials. No one was aware he had been kidnapped, and Hultz is not listed on the official U.S. list of missing contractors. “But he definitely wasn’t working for us” U.S. officials said. “He wasn’t working for the CIA as a bogus construction contractor who gained access to high-level Iraqi officials and reported back to us on who may have had ties with the militias, or anything like that. Absolutely not. No way. Really.”
The followers of Muqtada al-Sadr who released Hultz said they did so as a good will gesture now that the U.S. army is leaving Iraq.
Hultz said he was grateful for his release.”It was explained to me that this is a gift to me, my family and to the American people who oppose the war,” he said. “There was no prisoner swap involved. I am not working for the CIA. Really.”