The Obama administration has come up with several different versions of why it traded five high-level Taliban commanders for Bowe Bergdahl, without notifying Congress as required by law. Congress would’ve leaked it, the administration said — despite the fact that about 80 to 90 staff within the White House knew about the deal beforehand. Bergdahl’s health was deteroriating, they said — despite the fact that he looks fairly healthy in the Taliban’s video of the swap. The Taliban were gonna kill him if word leaked, they said — as if that justifies breaking federal law. The Taliban are stone cold killers. But it was actually against their interests to kill Bergdahl as long as the Obama administration signaled that it wanted to close Gitmo and was willing to deal for the only American POW in Afghanistan.
Yesterday, the Obama White House told members of Congress that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel made the final call — so blame him! Or at least, that’s what some members of Congress inferred from that White House briefing.
In his opening statement in a congressional hearing today on the swap, Hagel denied that he made the final call. “Mr. Chairman, I want to be clear on one fundamental point – I would never sign any document or make any agreement, or sign off on any decision that I did not feel was in the best interests of this country. Nor would the president of the United States, who made the final decision, with the full support of his national security team,” Hagel said.
Who made the final decision? President Obama, according to Chuck Hagel.
This would all be amusing, if Hagel and Obama weren’t in charge of our national security.