March 18th, 2012
06:20 AM ET

More questions than answers in account of American's abduction in Iraq

The murky abduction account of an American, who nobody appeared to know was missing in Iraq until he resurfaced, is raising questions about everything from his name to the circumstances surrounding his reported kidnapping.

A Shiite militia loyal to radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr announced Saturday in a bizarre, pre-taped news conference that it was releasing U.S. soldier Randy Michaels, who one Sadrist lawmaker said was captured in battle nine months earlier.

The man did not identify himself, though he said he was a former soldier who was working as a civilian when he was abducted.

But U.S. officials say all missing soldiers have been accounted for and no civilian was recently reported missing, and even the man's ex-wife said she didn't know he had been kidnapped.

On Sunday, adding to the mystery, the U.S. Embassy declined to identify the American or discuss details surrounding the reported abduction.

"We cannot disclose any further information at this moment regarding this case because of privacy practices," embassy spokesman Michael McClellan said.

But a U.S. official who had knowledge of the man and had seen the video told CNN he was Rand Michael Hultz, a former Army soldier who served in Iraq shortly after the 2003 invasion and later returned as an "entrepreneur."

The account by the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the nature of the case, is supported by interviews the man gave to an Iraqi television stations in 2010 where he identified himself as Hultz and detailed his business ventures.

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Filed under: Iraq • U.S. • World
soundoff (88 Responses)
  1. Mary

    Hmmm, This has all the "earmarks of a put-up job"
    Maybe this is unrealistic to mention as a possibility but what if this guy was abducted and brainwashed only to be sent back to the US to bomb us. Crazy huh? O well, it may make for a good book. 😉

    March 18, 2012 at 8:58 am | Report abuse |
    • bobcat2u

      Actually Mary, I thought the exact same thing. Oh no, I've become a conspiracy theorist.

      March 18, 2012 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  2. ? ? ?

    My ex couldve been kidnapped 9 months ago, or 9 years ago and i wouldnt know either! Nor care!

    March 18, 2012 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
    • bobcat2u

      That's funny ? ? ?

      March 18, 2012 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |


    March 18, 2012 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
  4. Pete

    @Citizen,you capture a lot of my sediment,these republican candidates,many who've never worked a hard day in their lives.They want to continue Bushs destruction of our great society.Billionaires,millionaires only wanting what's best for them and their heirs,not caring whos toes they step on to get it.Middle class and the poor people should revolt and bring this country back to its senses,Pres.Obama is trying,but he's the only one voice saying YES in a choir of NOs.We have to band together,the have nots,and show the haves ,we mean business.Get our country back to the PEOPLE not corporations,and the like who only benefit the rich,well connected indiviguals that only care for themselves.

    March 18, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • bobcat2u

      That is good sentiment Pete, but I'm afraid the days of our having any say in it are long gone. I believe if there were some way we could impose term limits on the senators and congressmen, then possibly we might be able to get some sensibility back into the government. These career politician have become to cozy with the lobbyists and what not, that they've become corrupted by the power.

      March 18, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • revnowwhilewecan

      I really don't see much of a difference in candidates on either side. When you mute the speeches and turn off the t.v., all one has to do is look no further than their, not so respective, voting records. Look at all of the candidates voting track records, then make your decision. No matter the party.

      March 18, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Pardon me

    I'm not kidding, folks. I'm nearly certain we have seen this guy in the national news before but it was quite a few years ago. Anyone else remember?

    March 18, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  6. CenTexas

    Citizen, you said:

    "And though it may seem militarily expedient to keep a large contingent of troops on the ground close to Iran, we may be better served to end this conflict now.
    There is no way we should allow the Republicans be demanding we leave a fight they started and now are unwilling to finish."
    So what is it you actually want?

    March 18, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • revnowwhilewecan

      It's pretty obvious that he's working to help with damage control for Obama over gas prices by playing 3 card monty with the issues. Sad that more americans won't just call it like it is, instead of making things partisan issues. He lied. I mean tried, it didn't work, now let's move along and put someone in office based on their actual track record instead of the latest promise, sound bite or speech.

      March 18, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
  7. DoubleW

    Weird. If this guy was working with Iraqi contractors, I imagine he might know something about the bales of US currency that went missing in our attempt to "rebuild" the country. Now that those "contractors" have their unearned wealth tucked away in Swiss bank accounts, perhaps this patsy is no longer useful to them. At any rate, i'm surprised he's still alive.

    March 18, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Portland tony

    CNN should investigate this mystery man using its vast network of unofficial ....sources. Then expose him for what he really is! What ever that means!

    March 18, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  9. revnowwhilewecan

    I get it. "Entrepreneur", "financial advisor" and Iraqi "commodities"? The Shiites have grown weary of westerners profiting from their resources. They've seen this guy poolside one too many times and gave him the boot instead of the sword as a "good will gesture".

    March 18, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
  10. leeintulsa

    @mary: that story is already out. 'homeland' on showtime..

    it's alright, but didn't really hook me..

    March 18, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  11. banasy©

    I tend to agree with Mary and Rawr.
    It's not passing the smell test.

    March 18, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  12. chrissy

    @ rev, the stock market fluctuates the rise and fall of the oil correct? So Obama cant be the blame of gas prices. They go up everytime theres an increase in barrels of crude oil.

    March 18, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • revnowwhilewecan

      Hi chrissy. I don't personally blame Obama for the gas issues. I was just pointing out that it seemed to me as if citizen was making a partisan issue out of somethimg that could be blamed on both parties is all. It just seems very biased to me that he would blame Republicans without mentioning any wrong doings of this administration. You can't blame the Republicans in congress for not playing ball when you disregard the law and invade countries without their approval. I don't agree with the GOP either but I try not to break the law while doing it. 🙂

      March 18, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  13. chrissy

    Good afternoon banasy! How was the party? Lol

    March 18, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  14. saywhat

    Much has been said and written about the Iraq disaster. And a disaster it has been. Though a few American & British Oil cos managed to get a foothold again in the region getting contracts. But in terms of our geo-political and strategic goals both in the short & long term it has been a failure.
    Ditto for Afghanistan. The price that Americans paid and are paying in blood & treasure to keep that 'endeavour' going needs no reminding.
    The spoils though are going to countries like China, India, Russia & Iran. The vast mineral and other wealth of that region, its tapping, transportation etc is being won or pursued by these countries. While we have managed only to turn entire regions hostile to us.
    Even now our political leadership somehow remains blinded.

    March 18, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  15. banasy©

    Hi, Indomitable.
    The party has outgrown itself, and I didn't have as good of a time there...800 people...but we had a great time at our local pub after we left early.
    Never again will we go to that party...even though it's for a good cause; I've. Got other good causes I can give to!

    March 18, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • bobcat2u


      Isn't that what they call that hairy snowman up in the Himalayas ?

      March 18, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      That's ABOMINABLE, silly goose!

      March 18, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • bobcat2u


      I thought that was a pizza chain.

      March 18, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      That's DOMINO'S, ya goof!

      This is fun.

      March 18, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • bobcat2u


      That sounds like a mind reading act for somone named DOMI.

      March 18, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • DOMI©

      I know what you're going to say next.

      March 18, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • bobcat2u

      You just me down on that one. But I'm sure you'll get me going again. I believe I can count on some new material from you.

      March 18, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Lol. You didn't leave me with anywhere to go!

      March 18, 2012 at 8:39 pm | Report abuse |
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