As the Bowe Bergdahl story has unfolded, the specifics have become more and more disturbing. Once again it seems as if the Obama administration has been lying to us about something… but we just can’t tell what. When we start asking questions, as many of the soldiers who were around Bergdahl have, we are quickly labeled as political hacks and extremists by the Obama team. (They’ve even gone so far as to call the soldiers who served with Bergdahl and are now questioning his release as “psychos.”)
To be sure, the Bergdahl situation is a sad one. And whether or not Bergdahl deserted, our government should have done its best to get him back. However, many question whether or not the Obama administration’s decisions in this instance are the wisest or best for our nation and our soldiers. Negotiating with the Taliban will simply inspire other terrorist groups to kidnap our soldiers. Handing over five of the worst offenders in captivity will only embolden these groups to ask for more and more outlandish ransoms. By trading these five prisoners, we’ve just given the Taliban a new leadership structure that they desperately needed.
So there are legitimate questions to be asked about why this happened, and why it happened now.
One of the reasons given by the Obama administration for their decision to trade five of the worst criminals held at the Guantanamo Bay prison for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was that the Taliban were threatening to kill Bergdahl. This may be the case.
However, because the Obama administration broke the law and chose not to keep Congress in the loop – we can’t really be sure.
The heads of our various Congressional intelligence committees have all shown great surprise at various elements of the entire incident.
Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) – Ranking member of the Senate intelligence committee, had this to say in the days about the Taliban’s treatment of Bergdahl.
Chambliss also questioned the White House’s claim that the reason they exchanged five high-level Taliban members being held at Guantanamo Bay for Bergdahl without notifying Congress was because the sergeant’s health was declining rapidly.
“Well, no intelligence supported that. And now, they come back and because he is in decent health, considering where he’s been, they’ve changed their story. They said, ‘Well, no, we suspected his life might be in danger, if word got out of this pending, possible trade then his life may be in danger,’” Chambliss explained to CBS News. “Again, I can just tell you there is no intelligence to support that … the whole scenario surrounding this is very, very strange.”
Mike Rogers (R-MI) – House Intelligence Committee Chairman condemned the White House for playing a part in this debacle.
I don’t know what he means by consulted Congress for some time,” Rogers said in response to Obama’s comments. “In 2011, they did come up and present a plan that included a prisoner transfer that was, in a bipartisan way, pushed back. We hadn’t heard anything since on any details of any prisoner exchange.”
“At least their public rhetoric does not match the facts on the ground,” he said. “This notion that it was an acute health care — yesterday, we were informed that it wasn’t acute, they had no information that it was acute, I don’t know why you would say that. They said we had to work within a few days of notice — we understand that this happened weeks ago.”
Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) – Senate Intelligence Chairwoman comes to the same conclusion as her Republican colleagues.
When asked whether there was a “credible threat” on Bergdahl’s life if word had gotten out, the California Democrat responded: “No, I don’t think there was a credible threat, but I don’t know. I have no information that there was.”
These three lawmakers represent a great outcry from Congress on the Obama Administration’s handling of the Bergdahl situation. Feinstein, at least, rated a phone call apology from the Obama administration (though no one else got a similar call).
Feinstein and several other lawmakers have accused President Barack Obama of violating the law — specifically, a part of the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act — by not informing Congress of a prisoner exchange at least 30 days before. Top national security representatives House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) have blasted the administration for not keeping Congress in the loop. Rogers in particular said he hadn’t been briefed on Bergdahl by the White House since 2011.
If Bowe Bergdahl was in no immediate danger, then the reasoning for this deal becomes extremely tenuous. If Bergdahl faced no immediate danger, then there is no way to justify the release of five of the most dangerous terrorists in Gitmo… which begs the question, why would the Obama administration do this?
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