The decision that brought about Sgt. Bergdahl’s freedom on Saturday continues to draw criticism. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.), head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Tuesday that Congress should have been consulted before Sgt. Bergdahl was exchanged for five Taliban detainees, who were sent to Qatar.
Imagine that. Why would they not tell them? Well, first, Congress was notified, and by my math, within a 30 day time period:
Obama administration officials first discussed with senior House Republicans the possibility of swapping five terrorism detainees from the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in exchange for the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in late November 2011, according to senior GOP aides.
The possible prisoner exchange was discussed again during a briefing on Jan. 31, 2012, after senior House Republicans sent two letters to the Obama administration seeking more information on the possibility of the swap, said the aides, who were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.
The aides said that no other communications between the administration and House Republicans about the possible prisoner swap took place after the January 2012 meeting — until an aide to House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) received a phone call from a Defense Department official notifying them of Bergdahl’s release at 11:52 a.m. Saturday — shortly before news of the release was first reported.
It’s not like they were out of the loop, because this happened:
The Arizona senator, himself a former prisoner of war, initially balked at the idea of a prisoner swap, calling the idea in 2012 “bizarre.” A few months ago, however, McCain changed his mind.
U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has been held by a group with ties to the Taliban for almost four years, and the group has demanded the United States release five Taliban prisoners in exchange for him.
The Washington Post reported that U.S. officials confirmed that talks among diplomats and the Pentagon were under way. The official U.S. policy is not to negotiate with terrorists, but the military is winding down operations there by the end of the year and could risk leaving Bergdahl behind, CNN noted.
McCain said his stance has changed only because the previous proposal was to release five “hard-core” Taliban leaders as a “confidence-building measure.” The current proposal would be an actual exchange of prisoners. “I would be inclined to support such a thing, depending on a lot of details,” he said.
Update: Asked specifically by CNN’s Anderson Cooper about the prospect of a 5-for-1 prisoner exchange, McCain replied, “I would support. Obviously I’d have to know the details, but I would support ways of bringing him home, and if exchange was one of them, I think that would be something I think we should seriously consider.”
That was in February.
McCain appears to have change course again after the Bergdahl announcement was made over the weekend.
While McCain, himself a former prisoner of war, said he was “pleased” by Bergdahl’s release in a Saturday statement, he sounded a more ambivalent note on Face the Nation the following day.
“It is disturbing that these individuals would have the ability to re-enter the fight, and they are big, high-level people, possibly responsibly for the deaths of thousands,” he said.
As best as I can tell, McCain has not explained why he was “inclined to support” the same deal the Obama administration actually struck, which the senator is no longer inclined to support.
Update: Yesterday, McCain suggested that it’s best not to dwell on the prisoner-swap decision. “It’s worthy of a hearing, but it’s done,” he said. Today, McCain adopted a different posture, telling reporters, “This decision to bring Sgt. Bergdahl home – and we applaud that he is home – is ill-founded … it is a mistake, and it is putting the lives of American servicemen and women at risk. And that to me is unacceptable.”
They weren’t out of the loop, they’re just making shit up now. This will always be about the Kenyan Usurper with these sociopaths.
At any rate, back to Feinstein. She may, unlike others and Sen. McCain, may actually have been kept out of the loop. Why? I dunno, but there is this:
Washington and Islamabad have never commented on where the deadly Predator drones take off and land, seemingly content with the general assumption that they are deployed from US bases in the Middle East or Afghanistan.
Pakistan constantly has to weigh its obligations to help the US fight the rebels and terrorists with hostile public opinion
But during a senate hearing on Feb 13 Mrs Feinstein, who is chairman of the senate intelligence committee, noted apparent contradictions in Islamabad’s expression of anger with the US over recent missile attacks on the autonomous tribal zones which provide sanctuary for al-Qaeda.
Addressing Dennis Blair, the new director of national intelligence, she said:
“I don’t know whether you’d care to comment on this but [I] also noticed that Mr Holbrooke in Pakistan ran into considerable concern about the use of the Predator strikes in the FATA area of Pakistan.
“And yet, as I understand it, these are flown out of a Pakistani base,” she said.
Oopsie daisy! Mind you, I am not a fan of drone warfare, but FFS, DiFi. And this kind of seals the deal:
The pending deal to move senior Taliban figures from Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to Qatar is part of a trade for the return of a Western prisoner, according to Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).
The Obama administration’s plan to move five top Taliban officials to live under house arrest in Qatar has been extensively reported but never openly discussed by administration officials. And until Feinstein confirmed it to The Cable, the fact that the crux of the deal is a swap for a Westerner had never been publicly disclosed.
“That’s the framework of the exchange. But it’s presented as a confidence-building measure,” Feinstein said. “We are giving up people who killed a lot of people, people who were head of major efforts of the Taliban.”
Feinstein said the deal involved the trade of one Westerner for the five Taliban leaders. She also confirmed the name of the Westerner in question, but The Cable has agreed to withhold that name at the request of U.S. officials out of concern for his safety.
You were kept out of the loop for a reason, moran. You can’t be trusted. Look, we in WV send Joe Manchin because it is the best we got. But you all can and should do a lot better.