Eli Lake reports on the arm-twisting that went on behind the scenes between the White House and the intel community:
James Clapper, the director of National Intelligence, according to three U.S. intelligence officials flat out rejected the release of the five detainees, saying there was too high a risk these Taliban commanders would return to the battlefield and orchestrate attacks against Americans.
Clapper was not alone. Leon Panetta, who was then the Secretary of Defense, declined to certify that the United States could mitigate the risk to national interests of releasing the Taliban commanders.
A lot has changed since 2012. To start, President Obama won reelection. Panetta is gone, and in his place is Chuck Hagel, a Republican former senator who has been much more in sync with Obama’s views on the war on terror than his predecessors.
But current U.S. intelligence and defense officials who spoke to The Daily Beast on Monday say the process for exchanging Taliban for Bergdahl this time was rushed and closely held, in some instances leaving little room for any push back against a policy clearly favored by the White House.
This White House gets what this White House wants.