I’m not a huge fan of Dianne Feinstein. So when even she is questioning Obama’s policies, you know something really bad must have happened. Apparently Feinstein was upset that Congress wasn’t notified about the release of Bowe Bergdahl at least thirty days prior to the prisoner exchange—as the law requires. But the White House has responded that the swap was so urgent, there was no time to follow the law. That, and apparently Congress has known about the situation all along and stuff:
National Security Adviser Susan Rice said Sunday on CNN that the “acute urgency” of Bergdahl’s failing health and what she described as a narrow opportunity to win his freedom justified making the move without notifying Congress.
On Monday, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough defended the administration’s handling of the negotiations, saying Congress had known for years of negotiations for Bergdahl’s release, including the possibility that detainees might be released.
Umm. That doesn’t really work, does it? First off, we’ve known about the Bergdahl situation for quite some time, as the administration so aptly pointed out to Congress. In fact, the Taliban offered this same swap about a year ago in June 2013. Jay Carney even commented on it in a press interview, making it very clear that the administration wouldn’t make any decisions without consulting Congress first:
With regard to the transfer of Taliban detainees from Guantanamo Bay, we have made—the United States has not made the decision to do that, though we do expect the Taliban to raise this issue in our discussion, if and when those discussions happen.
As we have long said, however, we would not make any decisions about transfer of any detainees without consulting with Congress and without doing so in accordance with U.S. law.
Well, you can just chalk that up as another broken promise and broken law from this administration.
And if the administration was so worried about the health of Bergdahl, why bring him back here? The Taliban probably provides better healthcare than the VA hospital. And if his health was really in such crisis, why wasn’t this exchange made earlier?
So why did Obama exchange Bowe Bergdahl so suddenly? We may never know. But one thing is for sure—the stated reasons for the exchange don’t hold water.