Two Years Ago Today, President Obama Endangered National Security And Broke The Law With The Bowe Bergdahl Prisoner Swap, Winning Him The Praise Of Hillary Clinton
- On May 31, 2014 President Obama announced that he was transferring five Guantanamo Bay detainees to Qatar in exchange for the release of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl.
- On her book tour, Clinton strongly backed Obama's move.
- Even as Clinton argued that the five detainees were "not a threat to the United States," top defense and intelligence officials said that the men released could return to the Taliban.
- The Government Accountability Office concluded that the Administration broke the law with the swap.
- Last year, U.S. officials said that 3 of the 5 released Taliban members have attempted to "re-engage" in terrorist activity.
Two Years Ago Today, President Obama Announced That He Was Transferring 5 Detainees From Guantanamo Bay In Exchange For Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl. PRESIDENT OBAMA: "This morning, I called Bob and Jani Bergdahl and told them that after nearly five years in captivity, their son, Bowe, is coming home… I'm also grateful for the tireless work of our diplomats, and for the cooperation of the government of Qatar in helping to secure Bowe's release. We've worked for several years to achieve this goal, and earlier this week I was able to personally thank the Emir of Qatar for his leadership in helping us get it done. As part of this effort, the United States is transferring five detainees from the prison in Guantanamo Bay to Qatar. The Qatari government has given us assurances that it will put in place measures to protect our national security." (President Barack Obama, Statement By The President On The Release Of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, Washington, D.C. 5/31/16)
The Government Accountability Office Concluded That The Administration Broke The Law In The Bergdahl Swap
The Non-Partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) Found That The Obama Administration Broke The Law When It Swapped Bowe Bergdahl For Five Members Of The Taliban Because The Department "Failed To Notify The Relevant Congressional Committees At Least 30 Days In Advance." "The Pentagon broke the law when it swapped Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, a prisoner in Afghanistan for five years, for five Taliban leaders, congressional investigators said Thursday. The nonpartisan Government Accountability Office said the Defense Department failed to notify the relevant congressional committees at least 30 days in advance of the exchange - a clear violation of the law - and used $988,400 of a wartime account to make the transfer. The GAO also said the Pentagon's use of funds that hadn't been expressly appropriated violated the Anti-deficiency Act." (Donna Cassata, "GAO: Pentagon Violated Law With Bergdahl Swap," The Associated Press, 8/21/14)
CLINTON AUTHORIZED NEGOTIATIONS AND DEFENDED THE 2014 PRISONER SWAP FOR BOWE BERGDAHL
In 2014, The Obama Administration "Negotiated A Deal In Which [Bowe] Bergdahl Was Returned In Exchange For The Release Of Five Senior Taliban Commanders" From Guantanamo Bay Prison. "Last year, the Obama administration negotiated a deal in which Bergdahl was returned in exchange for the release of five senior Taliban commanders from the U.S. military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. The Afghans flew to Qatar, which helped manage the deal, with the agreement they'd stay there under surveillance for one year." (Philip Ewing, "Bowe Bergdahl Desertion Charges Rekindle Debate Over Taliban Swap," Politico, 3/26/15)
A Hillary Clinton Spokesperson Took Credit For Her Role In The Swap, Saying That As Secretary, Clinton "Authorized Negotiations With The Taliban That Included A Transfer For Sgt. Bergdahl." "A spokesman for Mrs. Clinton said Wednesday that she had 'authorized negotiations with the Taliban that included a transfer for Sgt. Bergdahl.'" (Peter Nicholas, "Hillary Clinton Takes Cautious Stance Amid Berdahl Backlash," The Wall Street Journal , 6/4/14)
Days Later, Clinton Defended Obama's Decision To Trade Five Taliban Prisoners For Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl. "Hillary Clinton defended President Obama's move to free a long-held U.S. prisoner of war from Afghanistan in exchange for five men being held at Guantanamo Bay in a speech on the outskirts of Denver on Monday night." (Maggie Haberman, "Hillary Clinton Defends Bowe Bergdahl Exchange," Politico, 6/4/14)
- Clinton Said She Agreed With The Swap Because She Didn't Want To Leave "Any Of Our Soldiers On The Field." QUESTION: "Today's headlines are filled with reactions about the recent release of POW soldier Bowe Bergdahl, and I'd like to know if you were still in office today as Secretary of State, would this have been the move that you would have made to support this and what really should be foremost on our minds with respect to this issue?" CLINTON: "Well, I can't answer the question that way because I don't believe in sort of second guessing people who have to make these hard choices. But I would make a couple points. First, you know we do have a tradition, and I ascribe to it. It's a tradition that I think is not only one embedded in our military, but in our country and that is we try not to leave any of our soldiers on the field. We try to make sure that in so far as possible, you know, we bring them home. And this young man, whatever the circumstances, was an American, is an American citizen, was serving in our military. And you know, a lot of our closest allies do prisoner exchanges to get our POWs back all the time." (Hillary Clinton, Remarks At 1stBank Center, Broomfield, CO 6/2/14)
Clinton Said The Released Taliban Five Were "Not A Threat To The United States" Despite Warning From Intelligence And Military Officials
Clinton Even Argued That The Five Taliban Members Released By The Obama Administration "Are Not A Threat To The United States." NBC'S CYNTHIA MCFADDEN: "I think an awful lot of people think that we're less safe today than we were a week ago because these five guys are out." CLINTON: "These five guys are not a threat to the United States. They are a threat to the safety and security of Afghanistan and Pakistan. It's up to those two countries to make the decision once and for all that these are threats to them so they might be missing the bigger picture here. We want to get an American home. Whether they fell off the ship because they were drunk or they were pushed or they jumped, we try to rescue everybody." (NBC's, "The Today Show," 6/11/14)
In A Classified Assessment, American Intelligence Officials Predicted That Four Of The Five Men Released By The Obama Administration Would Return To The Taliban - Two Were Expected To Assume Senior Positions. "Before the U.S. transferred five Afghan Taliban detainees to secure the freedom of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, American intelligence officials predicted that two of the men would return to senior positions with the militant group, according to U.S. officials. The classified assessment, a consensus of spy agencies compiled during the prisoner-swap deliberations, said two others of the five were likely to assume active roles within the Taliban, while only one of the five released detainees was considered likely to end active participation in the group's effort to undermine the elected government of Afghanistan." (Julian Barnes And Siobhan Gorman, "Officials Predicted Detainees In Bowe Bergdahl Swap Would Rejoin Taliban," The Wall Street Journal , 6/10/14)
The Same Day Clinton's Interview Aired, Secretary Of Defense Chuck Hagel Conceded That The Men Released By The Obama Administration Could Return To The Taliban. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE HAGEL: "These are five individuals who have been off the battlefield for twelve, thirteen years. It doesn't mean they won't go aback. This is a different world, a different world for us as well so I would give you those answers again. I know you don't agree with them, but I would also remind all of us. There is risk to all of this. This is not a perfect situation. I know that. We all know that and that's why we spent an awful amount of time." (Armed Services Committee, U.S. House Of Representatives, Hearing, 6/11/14)
LESS THAN A YEAR AFTER THE SWAP, U.S. OFFICIALS SAID THAT 3 OF THE 5 RELEASED TALIBAN MEMBERS HAVE ATTEMPTED TO "RE-ENGAGE" IN TERRORIST ACTIVITY
US Government Official: At Least 3 Of The 5 Taliban Leaders Attempted To "Re-Engage" With Their Terror Networks. "At least three of the five Taliban leaders traded last year for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl have tried to plug back into their old terror networks, a government official familiar with the intelligence told Fox News, describing it as an attempt to 're-engage.'" (Catherine Herridge, "Official: At Least 3 Members Of 'Taliban 5' Tried To Reconnect With Terror Networks," FoxNews, 3/25/15)
Afghan Intelligence Officers Arrested Two Men Who Attempted To Visit Former Detainee, Mohammad Nabi Omari. "Last fall, two suspected insurgent figures went to visit one of the five former detainees in Qatar, Mohammad Nabi Omari. According to senior security officials in Afghanistan, the Afghan intelligence agency, in cooperation with Qatari intelligence, arrested the two men and brought them to Kabul, where they remain in custody. The two included Anas Haqqani, a brother of the leader of the Haqqani network, part of the Taliban insurgency, and Qari Abdul Rashid Omari, the brother of the former Guantánamo prisoner, Mr. Omari." (Rod Nordland, "For Swapped Taliban Prisoners From Guantanamo bay, Few Doors To Exit Qatar," The New York Times , 5/31/15)
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