Dempsey: Army will investigate Bergdahl for desertion

posted at 9:21 am on June 3, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

The debate continues over the value of the trade executed to return US soldier Bowe Bergdahl from captivity, especially focusing on the circumstances of Bergdahl’s capture. The chair of the Joint Chiefs, General Martin Dempsey, issued a statement today that the Army would indeed investigate those circumstances and the allegations of desertion in due course. Dempsey argued, though, that this question is and should be separate from the duty of the US to get him back from his captors:

The Army will investigate charges that rescued Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl deserted his post in Afghanistan, Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey said Tuesday.

“When he is able to provide them, we’ll learn the facts. Like any American, he is innocent until proven guilty,” Dempsey said in a post to his Facebook page. “Our Army’s leaders will not look away from misconduct if it occurred.” …

But Dempsey and other administration officials have looked to separate the rescue effort from questions over Bergdahl’s conduct.

“In response to those of you interested in my personal judgments about the recovery of SGT Bowe Bergdahl, the questions about this particular soldier’s conduct are separate from our effort to recover ANY U.S. service member in enemy captivity,” Dempsey said. “This was likely the last, best opportunity to free him.”

The Hill also notes that the Pentagon concluded that Bergdahl had deserted as far back as 2010:

A Pentagon investigation concluded in 2010 that Bergdahl had walked away from his unit before being captured by the Taliban, the Associated Press reported Tuesday. And according to The New York Times, Bergdahl left a note in his tent saying he was disillusioned with the U.S. Army and did not support the U.S. mission in Afghanistan.

According to the Washington Times and The Blaze, the Army nixed any special operations to retrieve Bergdahl after this conclusion, choosing not to risk the lives of other soldiers in a rescue attempt for a deserter:

Commanders on the ground debated whether to pull the trigger on a rescue several times in recent years, according to one of the sources, a former high-level intelligence official in Afghanistan, who said the conclusion each time was that the prospect of losing highly trained troops was too high a price to pay for rescuing a soldier who walked away from his unit before being captured by the enemy.

A second source told The Washington Times that the rescue operation plans were “high risk” and became even less attractive in recent months when officials in the Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations Command grew convinced that the Taliban and the militant Haqqani network, whose operatives were holding Sgt. Bergdahl, were eager to cut a deal for his release.

“Joint Special Operations Command always had the rescue mission on the table and it was entirely under their ownership, but the big question centered on whether Bergdahl was somebody you risk lives for when you still have time and space to maneuver diplomatically,” said the source, a high-level congressional aide, who, like the former intelligence official, spoke only on the condition of anonymity.

The aide also said there was frustration among some on Capitol Hill that the Obama administration had botched an opportunity to exert leverage over the Taliban, particularly since the U.S. military could have used force to secure Sgt. Bergdahl’s release.

The focus on Bergdahl will probably ease over the next few days, as the bigger issues in the swap are the Obama administration’s lack of compliance with the law and the danger presented by the five Taliban leaders sprung from GITMO. Some of the focus has been on Robert Bergdahl, the father who “immersed himself in Taliban culture,” NBC reported on Today, and who at times seemed to be regurgitating Taliban propaganda on Twitter. His hometown of Hailey, Idaho hopes people will back off for a while now and let residents relax a bit now that the ordeal seems to be over, but questions will persist about the Bergdahls — even if they don’t do so at the top of the headlines:

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I won’t be surprised if Dempsey lets time go by, then simply cashiers Bergdahl on the QT.

The excuse being ‘it happened such a long time ago’.

GarandFan on June 3, 2014 at 9:26 AM

Some of the focus has been on Robert Bergdahl, the father who “immersed himself in Taliban culture,” NBC reported on Today, and who at times seemed to be regurgitating Taliban propaganda on Twitter.

Well what do ya know? All that blather from the LSM about the American Taliban was true. It just happened that they were preaching to their own viewership/readership (bloggership?).

dreadnought62 on June 3, 2014 at 9:27 AM

Dude this was like….yesterday…

Electrongod on June 3, 2014 at 9:28 AM

The focus on Bergdahl will probably ease over the next few days, as the bigger issues in the swap are the Obama administration’s lack of compliance with the law and the danger presented by the five Taliban leaders sprung from GITMO.

You sure, Ed? I think that’s the worst part of this story aside from the lawlessness of the regime which we’ve unfortunately become almost numb to at this point. We released 5 detainees in exchange for a deserter and possible traitor. People aren’t going to just let bygones be bygones after a few days.

Doughboy on June 3, 2014 at 9:30 AM

Some of the focus has been on Robert Bergdahl, the father who “immersed himself in Taliban culture,” NBC reported on Today, and who at times seemed to be regurgitating Taliban propaganda on Twitter.

And Jugears welcomed him with open arms in the Rose Garden. Great optics. I can see the Taliban using that as propaganda soon.

Patriot Vet on June 3, 2014 at 9:30 AM

What difference at this point does it make?

eyedoc on June 3, 2014 at 9:30 AM

..as the bigger issues in the swap are the Obama administration’s lack of compliance with the law…

Um, NO.

Obama’s failure to comply with Federal Law has never been even a minor issue. No, the BIGGER issue will be the white-washing the actions of a deserter that probably gave material support to the enemy resulting in the deaths of Americans.

Browndog on June 3, 2014 at 9:30 AM

Later? Like when?

BigGator5 on June 3, 2014 at 9:31 AM

Three most recent stories on the front page, a headline, and the more I read the worse it gets. Still, by election time it will be old news and Obama will probably squash any desertion trial. I would make him look bad.

Fenris on June 3, 2014 at 9:31 AM

This guy is sooooo fired.

NoPain on June 3, 2014 at 9:31 AM

the questions about this particular soldier’s conduct are separate from our effort to recover ANY U.S. service member in enemy captivity,” Dempsey said.

How magnanimous of the military!

They might have considered Bergdahl to be part of them, but he no longer wanted anything to do with them or their mission.

In both a note left before he ‘walked away’ from his post and a call to his commander the day after he left, he made it crystal clear that he had no intention whatsoever of returning.

It makes me ill to think that people died and were horribly injured to rescue this assh0le, who deserted his brothers in arms during a time of war.

And, I do not want to hear anything about how he ‘has suffered enough.’ BS. We court martialed a guy who deserted to North Korea during Vietnam…40 years after he returned. Further, if ‘suffering enough’ is going to be the test, then, if someone is seriously injured during his apprehension, then I guess we shouldn’t prosecute, convict and imprison him for the murders that he committed. After all, he has suffered sooooo much. Boo-hoo!

Resist We Much on June 3, 2014 at 9:33 AM

And Jugears welcomed him with open arms in the Rose Garden. Great optics. I can see the Taliban using that as propaganda soon.

Patriot Vet on June 3, 2014 at 9:30 AM

The optics don’t make sense. When things don’t make sense: question your assumptions. The relevant assumption being that Obama is patriotic. At all.

Fenris on June 3, 2014 at 9:33 AM

If this guy is a traitor, how is his return a “rescue?”

Cricket624 on June 3, 2014 at 9:34 AM

This investigation will have to be a whitewash. To do otherwise will embarrass Obama.

ConstantineXI on June 3, 2014 at 9:36 AM

Well this took away attention from the VA scandal but it still has to do with the army so the VA thing is not going away.

sorrowen on June 3, 2014 at 9:37 AM

A clever defense lawyer would no doubt put on a PTSD defense, and say Bergdahl fell into the Haqqani network’s hands when he was wandering around dazed and confused.

Wethal on June 3, 2014 at 9:37 AM

The military has already concluded he’s a deserter. This new “investigation” reeks of revisionism to support the administrarion.

mankai on June 3, 2014 at 9:37 AM

Dempsey said. “This was likely the last, best opportunity to free him.”

“free”

tdarrington on June 3, 2014 at 9:38 AM

If this guy is a traitor, how is his return a “rescue?”

Cricket624 on June 3, 2014 at 9:34 AM

Obama was hoping it would “rescue” him…

Electrongod on June 3, 2014 at 9:38 AM

Explains why the bastard hasn’t been seen publically or allowed to make a statement to the press since his release. The Army hasn’t executed a traitor in a long, long time. I think it’s time.

RobertE on June 3, 2014 at 9:38 AM

Hailey, Idaho hopes people will back off for a while now and let residents relax a bit now that the ordeal seems to be over

Over? This is just getting started my friend.

MikeInBA on June 3, 2014 at 9:39 AM

@ RobertE

which begs the question — how long is this dude going to take up a bed in landstuhl? with a transfer to bethesda in the coming days no doubt? does he see the outside of a hospital b4 the leaves change color?!

ABreitbart on June 3, 2014 at 9:41 AM

Is America so disengaged or otherwise distracted by their efforts to Feed the Babies they are actually gonna let this go?

Tune in November and find out, kids!

Tard on June 3, 2014 at 9:41 AM

“Our Army’s leaders will not look away from misconduct if it occurred.”

Well since the jug-eared jackass in the White House is CinC that makes him “Our Army’s leader” and he’s going to order you to look away. That sort of makes you a jackass too, doesn’t it?

Oldnuke on June 3, 2014 at 9:41 AM

LOL. Their “investigation” will conclude whatever Zero tells them to conclude — or else. And there is no way on God’s green earth it’ll conclude that the clown-in-chief swapped a stinkin’ deserter for 5 terrorists. Oh, and that Pentagon report that says he deserted? Yeah. It’s gone. Every single copy of it. Wise up, folks. This isn’t your mom and dad’s army — or country.

Rational Thought on June 3, 2014 at 9:42 AM

If this guy is a traitor, how is his return a “rescue?”

Cricket624 on June 3, 2014 at 9:34 AM

I get confused by the term “capture” as well. He deserted. He wasn’t captured.

The focus on Bergdahl will probably ease over the next few days, as the bigger issues in the swap are the Obama administration’s lack of compliance with the law…

Bergdahl’s desertion causing other servicemen to get killed is the story, along with the terrorist leaders released. Obama not following the law is expected at this point.

forest on June 3, 2014 at 9:42 AM

The Commanders on the ground probably recognized after a few failed attempts that they were looking for a person that didn’t want to be found.

Dino V on June 3, 2014 at 9:42 AM

Hailey, Idaho hopes people will back off for a while now and let residents relax a bit now that the ordeal seems to be over

I thought nuts like the Bergdahls were reserved for Oregon.

tdarrington on June 3, 2014 at 9:43 AM

The optics don’t make sense. When things don’t make sense: question your assumptions. The relevant assumption being that Obama is patriotic. At all.

Fenris on June 3, 2014 at 9:33 AM

Oh, I know he isn’t patriotic. I believe that he has a disdain for anyone who doesn’t believe in his ‘vision’. Either for the country, or his ‘governing’. He has made us look incredibly weak in everything. I’m not sure any one person could have done all he has done to undermine American interests in such a short time. But he is determined.

Patriot Vet on June 3, 2014 at 9:44 AM

Darryl Issa will announce an exhaustive 4 year investigation into the prisoner release.

tdarrington on June 3, 2014 at 9:45 AM

Whether or not he deserted is directly relevant to whether or not he was in enemy “captivity” in the first place.

JeremiahJohnson on June 3, 2014 at 9:46 AM

Here’s one thing everyone can bank their house on; Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl will not be available for questioning until after the November elections. Reports will come from the Pentagon that he needs “extended rehabilitation” given the trauma he incurred while in “captivity”.

Rovin on June 3, 2014 at 9:46 AM

In both a note left before he ‘walked away’ from his post and a call to his commander the day after he left, he made it crystal clear that he had no intention whatsoever of returning.

If that’s true, it will make it much easier to prove desertion at his court martial. As I understand it, one of the elements that must be proved is that the soldier had no intention of returning to duty. There’s no more convincing proof of that than the soldier’s own words.

So thanks Bergdahl. At least you did something right. Now let’s just hope that there is enough public anger about this POS that the military will be forced to go through with a court martial.

AZCoyote on June 3, 2014 at 9:47 AM

The Army will investigate charges that rescued Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl deserted his post in Afghanistan, Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey said Tuesday.

“Rescued”? or recaptured? I have an opinion on why the Army was so eager to get him back the night he defected, after which the desire waned.

Lolo on June 3, 2014 at 9:47 AM

GOOD!

gophergirl on June 3, 2014 at 9:48 AM

And Jugears welcomed him with open arms in the Rose Garden. Great optics. I can see the Taliban using that as propaganda soon.

Patriot Vet on June 3, 2014 at 9:30 AM

There seems to be almost universal agreement that the Rose Garden victory lap was not the best idea. IMO, the idea was to saturate the media narrative with the idea that this was a story about a soldier that had been rescued from his captors. The truth leads to a completely different narrative which makes Susan Rice’s lies on Sunday morning talk shows all the more reprehensible.

Bergdahl did not serve with honor and distinction, he was not taken from the battlefield while serving this nation. He packed his stuff up and sent it home, left a note at the base, and snuck out of his post. He is at best a deserter but there is mounting evidence that he joined the Taliban. The administration is going have a hard time selling this as a good news story. Especially with Tali-dad in the wings.

Happy Nomad on June 3, 2014 at 9:49 AM

The American people don’t seem to be buying the WH version.The media has to be in a lather on how they are going to convince the country Obama was right,again.

docflash on June 3, 2014 at 9:49 AM

Doughboy on June 3, 2014 at 9:30 AM

I agree with your point but to me? The WORST part is the soldiers whom lost their lives searching for someone, who may have deserted.

THATS the worst part. IMO of course, and I’m not picking on you specifically, I just wanted to remind everyone of that fact,

Cheers,
Steven

Steven on June 3, 2014 at 9:49 AM

“In response to those of you interested in my personal judgments about the recovery of SGT Bowe Bergdahl, the questions about this particular soldier’s conduct are separate from our effort to recover ANY U.S. service member in enemy captivity,” Dempsey said. “This was likely the last, best opportunity to free him.”

I.

Do.

Not.

Care.

There is ‘incontrovertible’ proof that he ‘walked away’ from his post.

He was responsible for the predicament that he found himself in after he decided to leave the military.

If you go surfing during a hurricane or fail to leave when there is a mandatory evacuation order because of a fire…

Do.

Not.

Ask.

Me.

To.

Put.

First.

Responders.

At.

Risk.

To.

Save.

You.

You made your bed, now lie in it.

Bergdahl made his bed and he wasn’t worth the blood, treasure, and principles that we gave up to secure his freedom.

Resist We Much on June 3, 2014 at 9:50 AM

Oh, and that Pentagon report that says he deserted? Yeah. It’s gone. Every single copy of it. Wise up, folks. This isn’t your mom and dad’s army — or country.

Rational Thought on June 3, 2014 at 9:42 AM

But unfortunately for the Pentagon and the administration, the witnesses to Bergdahl’s desertion are still alive and well . . . and talking to the media.

AZCoyote on June 3, 2014 at 9:51 AM

When does releasing two war criminals wanted by the U.N. become a “bigger issue”?

Browndog on June 3, 2014 at 9:51 AM

Here’s one thing everyone can bank their house on; Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl will not be available for questioning until after the November elections. Reports will come from the Pentagon that he needs “extended rehabilitation” given the trauma he incurred while in “captivity”.

Rovin on June 3, 2014 at 9:46 AM

That’s not an unrealistic timeline but I don’t think the Pentagon is going to be able to stave off questions all that time.

Happy Nomad on June 3, 2014 at 9:51 AM

he went looking for them.
they found him.
they didn’t kill him and kept him alive for 5 years.
they then, on their own, knew how to better plan attacks against the us soldiers.
but he was……captured….

yeah…anyone want to buy a f*ing bridge from me??

dmacleo on June 3, 2014 at 9:51 AM

Traitor. Wall. Blindfold. Fire!

HomeoftheBrave on June 3, 2014 at 9:51 AM

Terrorists the world over now have a green light to capture any American soldier, no matter how sketchy their service, because it will always pay off in the end.

Bitter Clinger on June 3, 2014 at 9:52 AM

the Taliban and the militant Haqqani network, whose operatives were holding Sgt. Bergdahl, were eager to cut a deal for his release.

What? They make it sound like the savages were looking to trade in a crappy used car and would take a pittance from the dealer if they had to.

Those primates SLAUGHTER everyone they see and so they dragged Bergdahl around with them because they just couldn’t find it in their hearts to simply cut his throat and leave him in the mountains?

WTF…this is layer upon layer of stone cold lying.

Bishop on June 3, 2014 at 9:52 AM

Army will investigate Bergdahl for desertion

That’s reassuring to know but given the recent state of our American military leaders (Shinseki, Patreus, etal)this statement does not inspire much confidence. A CYA whitewash is also possible. BTW, in the spirit of ‘Patton’, when is the movie ‘Shinseki’ coming out?

MaiDee on June 3, 2014 at 9:53 AM

“In both a note left before he ‘walked away’ from his post and a call to his commander the day after he left, he made it crystal clear that he had no intention whatsoever of returning.”

Resist We Much on June 3, 2014 at 9:33 AM

He called his commander the day after he deserted? Not saying it didn’t happen, but can you provide the source of that?

NavyMustang on June 3, 2014 at 9:53 AM

Here is a petition started to punish the deserter:

Punish Bowe Bergdahl for being AWOL / Desertion during Operation Enduring Freedom.

Patriot Vet on June 3, 2014 at 9:54 AM

Those primates SLAUGHTER everyone they see and so they dragged Bergdahl around with them because they just couldn’t find it in their hearts to simply cut his throat and leave him in the mountains?

Bishop on June 3, 2014 at 9:52 AM

They may be savages, but they’re not stupid. They knew Bergdahl was worth more alive than as the victim on a beheading video.

Wethal on June 3, 2014 at 9:54 AM

Can the preznit officially pardon a soldier convicted of desertion, because if Berg the Younger gets a sentence I have a feeling that Berg the Elder is going to lobby Dog Eater pretty damn hard.

Bishop on June 3, 2014 at 9:56 AM

Army will investigate Bergdahl for desertion

That’s reassuring to know but given the recent state of our American military leaders (Shinseki, Patreus, etal)this statement does not inspire much confidence. A CYA whitewash is also possible. BTW, in the spirit of ‘Patton’, when is the movie ‘Shinseki’ coming out?

MaiDee on June 3, 2014 at 9:53 AM

Yeah, the fix is it — motivated by political pressure and/or cya. I do think they will have to get it done before obama leaves office.

Blake on June 3, 2014 at 9:56 AM

They need to investigate for a lot worse than desertion.

According to this story (note the date of the article), a Taliban commander claimed that Bergdahl was teaching the Taliban useful skills, like how to dismantle a cell phone and use it as a remote control detonator.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1305184/Bowe-Bergdahl-Taliban-claim-captured-U-S-solider-teaching-fighters-bomb-making-skills.html

AZCoyote on June 3, 2014 at 9:57 AM

dmacleo on June 3, 2014 at 9:51 AM

Hey, don’t be such a cynic. Bergdahl’s ballet teacher credited his love of dance for keeping him alive all those years. And there must be something to that. Of all the opportunities the enemy had to take prisoners during the last 13 years of combat operations, they only took one. Bergdahl is one fortunate soldier not to have been beheaded like Nick Berg (Iraq) or Daniel Pearl (Afghanistan). It’s as if Bergdahl had joined their cause or something.

Happy Nomad on June 3, 2014 at 9:57 AM

“Stand down, General.”

Not while O is POTUS. Will not happen.

Carnac on June 3, 2014 at 9:57 AM

The five Guantanamo detainees released by the Obama administration in exchange for America’s last prisoner of war arrived in Qatar today.. Nothing to worry about, obama’s got his TOP MEN in Qatar keeping an eye on them!

Naturally Curly on June 3, 2014 at 9:58 AM

And, I do not want to hear anything about how he ‘has suffered enough.’ BS. We court martialed a guy who deserted to North Korea during Vietnam…40 years after he returned. Further, if ‘suffering enough’ is going to be the test, then, if someone is seriously injured during his apprehension, then I guess we shouldn’t prosecute, convict and imprison him for the murders that he committed. After all, he has suffered sooooo much. Boo-hoo!

Resist We Much on June 3, 2014 at 9:33 AM

I’ll bet Mini Kim & Co. are just kicking themselves over that one. If they’d have waited to deal with Obama, I bet they could have parlayed Sgt. Jenkins into a sweet nuclear assistance deal.

Lolo on June 3, 2014 at 9:58 AM

He called his commander the day after he deserted? Not saying it didn’t happen, but can you provide the source of that?

NavyMustang on June 3, 2014 at 9:53 AM

Col. David Hunt: Bergdahl Called Unit The Day After He Walked Away Saying ‘I’ve Deserted’

@GayPatriot @SooperMexican @jaketapper @RichardGrenell COL. David Hunt on OReilly says Bergdahl called unit next am and said he deserted

— Melanie (@mrussRSF) June 3, 2014

Hunt also claims 14 soldiers were killed trying to find him.

Needless to say, the Obama regime is aware of this, it has to be in Bergdahl’s file.

“We’ve traded war criminals for a deserter”, Hunt said.

I saw Hunt say it. He said that he had FOUR PRIMARY SOURCES for the information that is contained in Bergdahl’s classified file (the investigation into Bergdahl actually began BEFORE he left…so, you can pretty much assume that the military and intelligence believed he was having inappropriate contact with the Taliban). The four sources include 2 soldiers with direct information about the phone call (I would imagine that they were the ones that took the call or overheard it) and 2 senior-level officials with The Pentagon, who were part of the investigatory team.

Resist We Much on June 3, 2014 at 9:59 AM

I posted this last night, but its good enough to post virtually everyday, in every post about the WH.

A White House official told MailOnline on Monday morning that Obama’s deputies were caught flatfooted by the intensity of public outrage in some quarters after Bergdahl’s rescue by Special Forces.

‘Everyone thought this would be a January 1981 moment,’ the insider said, referring to the negotiated release of 52 U.S. hostages in Iran after 444 days in captivity.

This says it all. Everything you need to know about why Obama did this.

For a headline and applause.

Is there any doubt of his narcissism?

BobMbx on June 3, 2014 at 9:59 AM

There seems to be almost universal agreement that the Rose Garden victory lap was not the best idea.

I would submit the the Rose Garden victory lap was the starting point for the White House, then worked backwards to create a scenario to make that happen–not end point.

Browndog on June 3, 2014 at 9:59 AM

The best punishment for Bowe Bergdahl would be to transfer him to a VA hospital.

Uniblogger on June 3, 2014 at 10:00 AM

These assurances come from the same Army that lied to the families of the six soldiers killed looking for Bergdahl, that forced all players to sign non-disclosures, whose generals have been purged by obama. That Army.

paul1149 on June 3, 2014 at 10:01 AM

The military will investigate but the findings have already been determined. Why else the non-disclosure statements Bergdahl’s platoon membees were forced to sign if the fix wasn’t in. I don’t have a lot of faith in Dempsey, a flaming liberal.

iamsaved on June 3, 2014 at 10:01 AM

He called his commander the day after he deserted? Not saying it didn’t happen, but can you provide the source of that?

NavyMustang on June 3, 2014 at 9:53 AM

That’s been reported a couple places. It’s part of the Col Hunt interview with O’Reilly last night.

Happy Nomad on June 3, 2014 at 10:02 AM

They may be savages, but they’re not stupid. They knew Bergdahl was worth more alive than as the victim on a beheading video.

Wethal on June 3, 2014 at 9:54 AM

I should have expounded: My belief is that Berg gave them more than just a bargaining chip for their fellow savages in Gitmo, referencing here the timeline of IED attacks which radically ticked up after his “capture”.

Berg’s barter value became higher after years because of the time he’s been with the terrorists, like finding a lost sailor on a deserted island, everyone is yelling “WOW”! But before that I’d be mighty interested to know how Berg proved his worth compared to having the entire US Army coming after them.

Bishop on June 3, 2014 at 10:02 AM

BobMbx on June 3, 2014 at 9:59 AM

Post it on every thread, it’s that important.

The dolts thought they had Gilad Shalit in their basket, instead they have a slightly less cosmetized version of Private Manning.

Bishop on June 3, 2014 at 10:06 AM

The Hill also notes that the Pentagon concluded that Bergdahl had deserted as far back as 2010:

Don’t tell coolretard. She might pop a blood vessel in your legs that go right through her cranium.

NotCoach on June 3, 2014 at 10:08 AM

Here is a petition started to punish the deserter:

Punish Bowe Bergdahl for being AWOL / Desertion during Operation Enduring Freedom.

Patriot Vet on June 3, 2014 at 9:54 AM

Bobmbx = 9,773

BobMbx on June 3, 2014 at 10:08 AM

Everyone thought this would be a January 1981 moment,’ the insider said, referring to the negotiated release of 52 U.S. hostages in Iran after 444 days in captivity.

I think this is because lefties don’t serve in the military and don’t understand the commitment and sacrifice, and the respect Americans have for that commitment and sacrifice, which is why there is so much disgust with a deserter.

The lefties think the military is just another job that you leave when it isn’t fulfilling. Just like they think religion is just another “interest” one does in private, like following a sports team, yoga workouts, or a book club.

Wethal on June 3, 2014 at 10:09 AM

But unfortunately for the Pentagon and the administration, the witnesses to Bergdahl’s desertion are still alive and well . . . and talking to the media.

AZCoyote on June 3, 2014 at 9:51 AM

Politicians are accustomed to dealing with other weasely politicians, so it is understandable they might discount the possibility a soldier might ignore a NDA.

Fenris on June 3, 2014 at 10:12 AM

The military will investigate but the findings have already been determined. Why else the non-disclosure statements Bergdahl’s platoon membees were forced to sign if the fix wasn’t in. I don’t have a lot of faith in Dempsey, a flaming liberal.

iamsaved on June 3, 2014 at 10:01 AM

The NDA probably aren’t binding because they weren’t done the way a legal document should be, with the proper witnesses.

And the men who are out of the service are violating the NDAs with impunity, knowing that Obama would never dare prosecute them. The legal defense fundraising would make the Chick-Fil-A turnout look like a slow day.

The current military seems to be leaking like a sieve, given the NYTimes story about the 2010 conclusion that Bergdahl deserted.

Wethal on June 3, 2014 at 10:13 AM

This says it all. Everything you need to know about why Obama did this.

For a headline and applause.

Is there any doubt of his narcissism?

BobMbx on June 3, 2014 at 9:59 AM

I’m not convinced that’s the primary reason. Sgt Tahmooressi is in jail in Mexico, while Bergdahl is not. One of these two is a Christian, and would get Obama fare more plaudits for an active effort to free him.

Fenris on June 3, 2014 at 10:18 AM

The current military seems to be leaking like a sieve, given the NYTimes story about the 2010 conclusion that Bergdahl deserted.

Wethal on June 3, 2014 at 10:13 AM

They should as their orders were unethical and seem to be covering for illegality, and every military member is told to ignore such orders if the time comes.

Considering the force of government leveled at people who don’t toe Barky’s line, I give great credit to the soldiers coming forward and talking.

Bishop on June 3, 2014 at 10:18 AM

But unfortunately for the Pentagon and the administration, the witnesses to Bergdahl’s desertion are still alive and well . . . and talking to the media.

AZCoyote on June 3, 2014 at 9:51 AM

Soon to be arrested for violating a national security agreement.

Where are the folks who were in Benghazi and survived? Bueller? Bueller?

BobMbx on June 3, 2014 at 10:19 AM

Fenris on June 3, 2014 at 10:18 AM

Exactly. Obama and the Bergdahls are “fellow travelers”.

kingsjester on June 3, 2014 at 10:24 AM

WASHINGTON — In his five years of captivity, Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was never listed by the Pentagon as a prisoner of war.

Nor has the U.S. applied that term to any of its Taliban prisoners — including the five senior Taliban figures who were released last weekend from detention at the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in exchange for Bergdahl’s freedom.

Drudge link

Wethal on June 3, 2014 at 10:24 AM

Can the preznit officially pardon a soldier convicted of desertion, because if Berg the Younger gets a sentence I have a feeling that Berg the Elder is going to lobby Dog Eater pretty damn hard.

Bishop on June 3, 2014 at 9:56 AM

Yep. In fact, I’ll bet Berg the Younger already has the pardon in his back pocket, along with a Hero of the ObamiNation award for allowing Teh SCOAMT to officially lose the “good” war of Afghanistan.

Steve Eggleston on June 3, 2014 at 10:26 AM

This IS the Obama administration:

1) A review will be announced

2) No comments by anyone until the review is complete

3) During review period, Bergdahl is given a medical discharge

4) Since the subject of the review is no longer in the military, the preliminary results of the review will not be made public

5) Bergdahl? He was that POW that Obama rescued! All hail President Obama

pilsener on June 3, 2014 at 10:26 AM

There is a pattern with this WH; shot first, ask questions later. Just as with many of their “phony” scandals it is self inflicted by trying to “appear” to be smarter than the rest of us by not telling the truth.

Tater Salad on June 3, 2014 at 10:29 AM

Yep. In fact, I’ll bet Berg the Younger already has the pardon in his back pocket, along with a Hero of the ObamiNation award for allowing Teh SCOAMT to officially lose the “good” war of Afghanistan.

Steve Eggleston on June 3, 2014 at 10:26 AM

Well then it’s a done deal and all because of that strange meeting between Dog Eater and the bearded wonder known as Bergdahl of Mecca.

No way will Bark not pardon a dude he’s spent so much time parading around as a 21st century Audie Murphy.

Bishop on June 3, 2014 at 10:36 AM

Using Obama’s statement of “The US never leaves a man behind”, how many Russian spies is he going to exchange with Putin to return “patriot” Edward Snowden back to his homeland???

sh221b on June 3, 2014 at 10:37 AM

The optics don’t make sense. When things don’t make sense: question your assumptions. The relevant assumption being that Obama is patriotic. At all.

Fenris on June 3, 2014 at 9:33 AM

Yeah, well BO can find it within himself to negotiate with the Taliban, but NOT with Republicans.

That pretty much tells you who he believes his true enemies are.

climbnjump on June 3, 2014 at 10:39 AM

BREAKING:

DHS announces the hiring of Bowe Bergdahl as an Islamic Culture Consultant, with the responsibility of finding effective methods of reducing the resistance to the Presidents’ efforts to transform the US into an Islamic state.

BobMbx on June 3, 2014 at 10:41 AM

Dempsey is aiding and abetting the islamist supporters in the White House in their deliberate destruction of the US military. He should be court martialed

georgealbert on June 3, 2014 at 10:42 AM

Jen Psaki
Spokesperson
Daily Press Briefing
Washington, DC
June 2, 2014

BERGDAHL

Bowe Bergdahl Release
Status of Other Detained American Citizens
Determination that Transfer Should Move Forward / NDAA
Qatari Assurances on Handling of Released Detainees
Afghan -Taliban Reconciliation
Outreach to Families of Other Detained American Citizens
Travel Ban on Released Individuals

TRANSCRIPT:

1:06 p.m. EDT

MS. PSAKI: Hi, everyone. Happy Monday.

QUESTION: Today, can we start with the Bowe Bergdahl situation and what the Department’s role was in this, aside from the Secretary’s phone call to President Karzai?

MS. PSAKI: Well, you noted the Secretary’s phone call, which was included in the statement he provided – or we sent out this weekend. Obviously, this was an interagency process and we worked closely with the Department of Defense, the White House, and others where applicable. I don’t have any other details to share beyond that at this point.

QUESTION: There are reports of a small team of negotiators, including people from the State Department, going to Qatar back last month. Well, last month isn’t that long ago. But is that – are those correct?

MS. PSAKI: Well, there have been – we have long expressed an interest in discussing with the Taliban this issue, as well as other issues. And obviously our team, as the diplomats who are representing our government in this regard and any other regard, would be a part of that effort. I can check with them and see if there’s more details they’d like to share.

QUESTION: Did – does this mean that that representative office that they were going to have in Doha is up and running?

MS. PSAKI: This was the only issue discussed with the Taliban, obviously through a third party, as you all know from the reports this weekend. We’re hopeful that this will be an opening, but we have received no assurances to that point.

QUESTION: I understand that. But does this – but remember when the office was going to be opened –

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: — and then it didn’t because they wanted to call it something? Then –

QUESTION: The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.

QUESTION: Did it –

QUESTION: It did open briefly. They closed it.

QUESTION: Did it ever open?

QUESTION: They closed it.

QUESTION: Right. It closed.

QUESTION: Yeah.

QUESTION: Does this mean now that that office has been opened under –

MS. PSAKI: It doesn’t. We worked, again, through the Qataris, who were the third party, who were the negotiators on our behalf.

QUESTION: So there was – okay. So there was no direct contact, are you saying, between U.S. officials and the Taliban representatives? It was all done through the Qataris?

MS. PSAKI: The negotiations were done through the Qataris, yes.

QUESTION: But does that mean that there was no direct contact between U.S. officials and the Taliban?

MS. PSAKI: I don’t have any other details to share beyond that.

QUESTION: All right. And I just have one more on this. And that is since you, the Administration, has decided to do this, does it have any implications for other cases where Americans are held, specifically two of them, Alan Gross and Bob Levinson? There’s some discussion in the ether that it might be appropriate to trade the three remaining Cuban Five for Mr. Gross, given the fact that he was, while not a soldier serving in uniform, was working for – indirectly for the U.S. Government, as was Bob Levinson when he was – went missing on Kish Island.

MS. PSAKI: Well, as you all know, but it’s worth repeating, Sergeant Bergdahl was a member of – is a member of the military who was detained during an armed conflict. That obviously is a unique circumstance in any case. Whether it’s Alan Gross or Kenneth Bae or others who are detained American citizens, we take every step possible to make the case and to take steps to ensure their return home to the United States.

QUESTION: Right. But this seems to be – especially in the Alan Gross case, the Cubans have made it perfectly clear – not just privately, but I mean, they’re screaming it from the rooftops – that if there can be a resolution to the three remaining of the Cuban Five, that then Alan Gross will be freed.

MS. PSAKI: I – again, every circumstance is different, Matt, and I’m not going to speak to every circumstance from the podium. But this is a case where he was a member – is a member of the military. He was detained during an armed combat – armed combat. These were a unique set of circumstances.

QUESTION: So working for another agency of the government makes a difference? You’re not prepared to trade people for someone who was not serving in uniform?

MS. PSAKI: Again, Matt, we take every circumstance and every case of an American citizen being detained overseas incredibly seriously, and we do everything we can to assure their return.

QUESTION: And then my last one then is: So that means that the Administration is still opposed to any deal with the Cubans for Alan Gross that involves the three remaining Cuban Five?

MS. PSAKI: Nothing has changed in that case, no.

QUESTION: How do you address the argument that the Administration violated the provision of the National Defense Authorization Act under which it was obliged to give Congress 30 days’ notice prior to the release of anyone from Gitmo?

MS. PSAKI: Well, this situation here – it was a – due to a near-term opportunity to save his life, so a case dealing with the life and health of an American citizen who is a member of the military who was detained while in combat, we took steps and there was a decision made to move as quickly as possible to secure his release and return home. I would note that there is – the President did sign a signing statement when he signed the NDAA which made clear that the Executive Branch must have the flexibility, among other things, to act swiftly in conducting negotiations with foreign countries regarding the circumstances of detainee transfers. And in this case, there were concerns about his health, about his safety, and we took the steps needed to return him home.

QUESTION: But in the United States system, the President doesn’t get to write the laws. It’s Congress that writes the laws, and then he has the opportunity to sign them or not sign them. Candidate Obama, I think, spoke against the Bush – the George W. Bush Administration’s use of signing statements to try to reinterpret the law as written by Congress. So is it your position that the fact that he, the President, wrote a signing statement means that this is not the law?

MS. PSAKI: I felt it was a helpful piece of context that many people wouldn’t be aware of. We – in this case, when you’re the commander-in-chief and you’re sitting at your desk and you are dealing with the question of the life and safety of an individual who has served our country in the military, you make choices. And that was what was – what happened in this case.

QUESTION: So it’s okay to violate the law in an instance where the life and safety of a member of the Armed Forces is at risk?

MS. PSAKI: There was a determination made that given these unique circumstances such a transfer should go forward notwithstanding the notice requirement of the NDAA.

QUESTION: And if that were the case, and since you talked about the importance of speed, did you notify any member of Congress prior to the release of the Guantanamo Five? Even if it wasn’t 30 days, did you give them a day, an hour, a minute, any kind of advance notice, or none whatsoever?

MS. PSAKI: Again, we took steps that were needed in order to assure his safe return to the United States, and there’ll be a notification process that will be ongoing in the coming days.

QUESTION: Would you say that this was actually just a prisoner of war exchange, just a POW exchange?

MS. PSAKI: I would characterize it exactly as I – as exactly as the Secretary did in his statement, the President did in his statement on Saturday.

QUESTION: Did you expect – is the view from this building that as talks go forward with – about U.S. presence or future presence in Afghanistan, is this a good step, a positive step?

MS. PSAKI: Again, I think in that case we have – the President made his announcement regarding the ongoing presence. There’ll be a political process that will continue in Afghanistan. Both candidates have indicated they’ll sign the BSA. I don’t see a connection at this point.

QUESTION: Jen?

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: While DOD has a role of managing the detention of Guantanamo Bay prisoners, this building typically deals with the resettlement and repatriation of those when they were released from Gitmo. So what is this building’s role now with those five Taliban prisoners – former prisoners in question and their year ahead in Qatar?

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm. Well, I can’t discuss all of the special assurances we received from Qatar, but I can tell you that they included, among other things, a travel ban and regular information sharing on the detainees between our governments. I can also tell you and point you to the fact that there was sufficient – that these assurances were sufficient enough to allow the Secretary of Defense, in coordination with the national security team, to determine that the threat posed by the detainees to the United States would sufficiently – was sufficiently mitigated, and that the transfer was in the U.S. national security interest. So as you know, we have long – that is a bottom-line requirement of ours, and we took every precaution in this case.

QUESTION: But after the year, when they in theory could go back home to Afghanistan, will this building play a role in this? Is this a special case where they’re going to be handled differently when it comes to repatriating former prisoners?

MS. PSAKI: We’re in close contact, obviously, as part of our agreement about regular information sharing with the Government of Qatar. I don’t have anything to read out for you in terms of what will happen at the end of a year.

QUESTION: Jen, why did the Administration agree to so few restrictions with releasing the Guantanamo five?

MS. PSAKI: I would not characterize it that way at all. Again, I can’t outline all of them, but there were sufficient assurances in our view. We’re going to be in regular contact with regular information sharing with Qatar, and we also have – there’s a travel ban that will be in place.

QUESTION: But can you guarantee that that travel ban, after a year, they will not return to the region?

MS. PSAKI: Again, we’re in very close contact. The assurances were sufficient enough that the Secretary of Defense signed off on the transfer.

QUESTION: From the Qataris?

MS. PSAKI: Yes, from the Qataris, yeah.

QUESTION: In what kind of a situation are they going to be held in – or living in Qatar? Are they going to be living as virtually free people despite, we say, the travel ban? Or are they going to be in a minimum security jail? I mean, there’s lots of range of options of how they could be kept.

MS. PSAKI: I don’t have any other details on that specifically. I’m happy to see if there’s more we can share from this building, or the Government of Qatar may have more specific details.

QUESTION: And Mr. Berghdal, he’s now in Landstuhl? Is that right?

MS. PSAKI: That – I believe that’s the case. I haven’t received an update.

QUESTION: When is he due to be heading back to the United States?

MS. PSAKI: I don’t have any update on that. I believe they’re going through a regular processing there. But I don’t have an update on when he’ll be returned.

QUESTION: And when you say that his life was in danger, are you able to tell us exactly what condition he was suffering from, why you believe that he – his health was failing so badly?

MS. PSAKI: I don’t have any other details on his health than I can outline. Obviously, he is now with U.S. Government officials. There’ll be an entire process to determine answers to those questions and what will be next, but right now our focus is on returning him to his family.

QUESTION: One more – statistics say that one-third of all Guantanamo Bay detainees go back to the battlefield. So that means roughly one of these guys is headed back. Can you comment on that?

MS. PSAKI: I think I spoke to how confident we are about the assurances. Margaret?

QUESTION: Can I just quickly – is Envoy Dobbins still lead in any potential peace negotiations? You said there’s hope there’s an opening. Is he the U.S.’s man on that still?

MS. PSAKI: He certainly continues to be one of the main points of contact or point people on that issue, yes.

QUESTION: Was he involved with this particular prisoner swap issue?

MS. PSAKI: I don’t have any other names to read out. I’m happy to check on the question – I understand why you’re asking it – and see if there’s more we can share on specific individuals from this building.

QUESTION: But – I’m sorry –

QUESTION: The Taliban have – sorry, Elise – the Taliban have characterized this as a victory. Is that the U.S. Administration views it? Is it a victory for the Taliban?

MS. PSAKI: Certainly we would not. I’ve seen those comments. Our focus – and has long been our focus; we’ve spoken about this publicly in here and in other buildings in the Administration – has been securing the safe return of Sergeant Bergdahl. This, in our view, is a – was an exciting day. It was a tremendous relief for the family, and that’s what our focus was in these discussions.

QUESTION: And how do you respond to the critics that – who say that now one American is worth five Taliban?

MS. PSAKI: Again –

QUESTION: Or other terrorists?

QUESTION: Or other terrorists, obviously?

MS. PSAKI: There is a long history, as you all know, of – when there are prisoners of war of cases that are similar. I’m not going to go into all of that history from here. I know you’re all familiar with it. But again, in this case, we took steps needed to secure the return and release of a prisoner of war who was a member of the military, and that’s why we made the decisions we did.

QUESTION: You don’t regard the inmates at Guantanamo Bay as prisoners of war, do you?

MS. PSAKI: I don’t think we’ve characterized them that way, no.

QUESTION: No, but you talked about it as being prisoners of war, and it was my understanding the people at –

MS. PSAKI: I was referring to Sergeant Bergdahl.

QUESTION: So there’s a prisoner of war who was traded for five –

QUESTION: Prisoners.

QUESTION: — what was the actual term?

QUESTION: Enemy combatants.

QUESTION: Enemy combatants.

QUESTION: Enemy combatants, yes. So it’s not actually a prisoner of war exchange; it’s one prisoner of war.

MS. PSAKI: Perhaps I should’ve taken an ‘S’ off the end.

Go ahead, Elise.

QUESTION: You talked about – that you hope that this might spur some kind of progress in the larger reconciliation negotiations. Now that the U.S. has resolved this issue with the Taliban, what now would the U.S. role be, should there even be one now that this is a kind of Afghan-Taliban issue?

MS. PSAKI: Well, we’ve always felt that in any reconciliation process, it would be Afghans talking to Afghans. And as you know, the Taliban cut off their direct talks with the United States back in 2012, and in this case there weren’t direct talks. They were through the Qataris.

QUESTION: And they’re limited to the Bergdahl case.

MS. PSAKI: Right, exactly. So I don’t want to get ahead of where we are, and I have talked to our team about this. And some of them have addressed this. Obviously, this was a big priority for the United States. We’ll see what happens moving forward. There aren’t assurances that I am aware of of a broader dialogue.

QUESTION: But – I understand, but now that the U.S. and the President announced the U.S. troops are leaving, like what is there now for the U.S. to be involved with in this?

MS. PSAKI: In terms of a reconciliation process? We’ve long indicated we’d be open to playing a supportive role, but that it would always be Afghans talking with Afghans. So I don’t think we’re at that point in the process.

QUESTION: Jen, can you explain to us whether – I mean, considering that Qatar is really a small country and may not be able to control this guy or the Taliban, will the United States have like an observer role to make sure that he’s exactly – they are exactly where they are supposed to be? Will they have like bracelets –

MS. PSAKI: There’ll be an ongoing dialogue, as I mentioned, with the Qataris –

QUESTION: Not a dialogue. I’m saying that will you be able to see that they are there; they are not being removed, they are not to go before the year is up?

MS. PSAKI: Again, I think I’ve spoken to our assurances, and that’s why the Secretary of Defense and others signed off on this agreement.

QUESTION: Just a quick follow-up to Matt’s question: You mentioned because Sergeant Bergdahl is a member of the military you went after him. If you have a Marine reservist in Mexico, why can’t you do a similar swap for him?

MS. PSAKI: I understand the desire to make comparisons, but we wouldn’t compare them. This is – was a Marine who was taken while in combat, and you’re talking about a situation of an individual who the Mexican authorities are accusing of violating the law.

QUESTION: But I’m sure we have five cartel members or somebody in jail we could swap in exchange for this Marine. Would that be a good trade?

MS. PSAKI: Thank you for your advice, Lucas –

QUESTION: Okay.

MS. PSAKI: — but every situation is different.

QUESTION: And one more –

MS. PSAKI: Do you have another question?

QUESTION: Yes. Is the State Department – would you categorize Sergeant Bergdahl as a deserter?

MS. PSAKI: We would characterize him as a member of the military who was detained while in combat.

QUESTION: What strikes me about this is that you guys can say – you can shout it around the world that this is a unique case individually, but that doesn’t mean that the Taliban or any other group that’s like the Taliban are going to accept that, that this is a unique situation and the U.S. doesn’t negotiate with terrorists. Is there any concern in this building for the safety of U.S. diplomats now in Afghanistan, who will be essentially on their own with a limited amount of security post-2016 – after the end of next year – because of this decision?

MS. PSAKI: Well, as you know, Matt, we consider – outside of this decision, we’ll consider the needs of our diplomats who will continue serving in Afghanistan and what their security needs are. And that’s been an ongoing process that will continue leading up to 2016.

QUESTION: Okay. So you – so people around the world – terrorists or whoever might seek to do harm to this country – should know that if you’re – if an American isn’t in uniform, it’s a waste of time to abduct them, to take them prisoner, because you’re not going to do anything? There’s not going to be any trade?

MS. PSAKI: I think there’s been a consistent position of the United States that we make every effort not to leave any man behind –

QUESTION: Right.

MS. PSAKI: — who is serving our country in combat, and this is consistent with that.

QUESTION: Okay. And I just want to make sure one thing: You said – you talked about the life, health, and safety of Sergeant Bergdahl. But do you not have similar concerns about Alan Gross, about Bob Levinson, about people who are being held – people who were actually working either covertly or through an indirect – through indirect means, a contractor for USAID? Do –

MS. PSAKI: Certainly. Certainly, we do, Matt. And I did not mean to indicate anything other than that. And obviously, in each of those cases we remain –

QUESTION: Right.

MS. PSAKI: — very focused on securing their return.

QUESTION: But in the Alan Gross case, the Cubans have made it very clear that if these prisoners are released who have served 15 years in prison already – if these guys are – these three guys, remaining three are released, that they will – that they’ll basically release Gross, who you have similar concerns about his health and safety, as you did with Sergeant Bergdahl. And you wouldn’t actually be breaking the law, or going around the law, in releasing these guys who have served – in releasing these three guys, the Cubans. I just don’t understand –

MS. PSAKI: We look at each case differently, Matt.

QUESTION: Well, I understand. But what I don’t understand – why you rule it out completely in the case of someone who was working for the government indirectly when he was arrested, taken prisoner in Cuba. Why is that a different – I just don’t understand why, if you have the same concerns and you can deal with the situation with the snap of a finger by releasing people –

MS. PSAKI: As you know, there have been – there has been work on this case for years, as you know. So only in the last week has there been an opening that we looked into, and obviously pursued. But in any case, we’re taking every step needed behind the scenes. Oftentimes those aren’t steps that can be spoken about from the podium, so I will leave it at that.

QUESTION: Where does the opening come from? What was the opening?

MS. PSAKI: I don’t have any other details to lay out beyond that.

QUESTION: Back to the Alan Gross, I mean, there is an opening. The Cubans have said – as we’ve been discussing, the Cubans have said that they’d be willing. And these Cuban Five don’t pose nearly as much threat to the U.S. national security that these Taliban presumably did.

MS. PSAKI: Well, other than to say, Elise, that we remain concerned about his safety, that we would like to see him returned to his family, that we continue to press this issue, I don’t have anything to update all of you on on that case.

QUESTION: Was there a there a precedent –

QUESTION: But you continue to – let me – but you continue to press the issue, but can you say that you’d be willing to do anything it takes to bring him home –

MS. PSAKI: I have nothing –

QUESTION: — like you’ve been able to say on the Bergdahl –

MS. PSAKI: I have nothing to update you on on this issue.

Go ahead.

QUESTION: Jen, would you say that a precedent was – did you look into precedent like when the – when Hamas, for instance, captured the Israeli soldier and ended up trading him for maybe a thousand Palestinian prisoners? Did you use that – did they use that as precedent?

MS. PSAKI: I don’t think I have any more precedent to offer other than there have been many cases throughout history, Said.

QUESTION: On the subject of precedent, maybe a better comparison for prisoner would be Charles Robert Jenkins. He was a deserter in 1965 and was held in North Korea for close to 40 years. And when he got out and surrendered, he did face jail time. He did 30 days and was reduced in rank. Would you like to see similar charges against – leveled against Sergeant Bergdahl?

MS. PSAKI: Again, I think I stated what our view is here. There’ll be plenty of time to determine what the next steps are. That would be the purview of the Department of Defense.

QUESTION: But the State Department cannot call him at this time a deserter?

MS. PSAKI: I think I characterized as we characterized him.

QUESTION: Okay. And is there any –

MS. PSAKI: Go ahead.

QUESTION: — evidence that he was collaborating at all with the Taliban?

MS. PSAKI: I don’t have any more details.

QUESTION: And is it just a coincidence that Sergeant Bergdahl, this prisoner exchange, happened after a week of – VA scandal? General Shinseki was – resigned. And then at the – President Obama at West Point wanted to end – to close, finally, Guantanamo Bay. Is that just a coincidence that this rescue happened?

MS. PSAKI: I believe it is, yes.

QUESTION: Can I just – one more on this.

MS. PSAKI: Go ahead, Jo.

QUESTION: I just wondered if you’d reached out to the families of Alan Gross and Bob Levinson today given that – and any of the other families who have people held in Iranian jails. Because there must be – all those families must be – their feelings must be in turmoil today. I just wondered if you guys had reached out to them to sort of try and reassure them somehow.

MS. PSAKI: We are making every effort to reach out to the individuals, the families of American citizens held overseas. I don’t have any update for you on that, but we can venture to get you an update.

QUESTION: And particularly after this release, do you mean, or just that you have ongoing dialogue?

MS. PSAKI: We have ongoing dialogues with all of them.

QUESTION: But are you particularly – to Jo’s question, are you – when you say that you’re trying to reach out to families of Americans held overseas, do you mean in this particular relation?

MS. PSAKI: I mean we have ongoing dialogues with all of them and –

QUESTION: So you’re not calling all the families of Americans held overseas in relation to the Bergdahl case?

MS. PSAKI: We are in touch with all of them on a regular basis, Elise. So we’ll continue that this week.

Go ahead.

QUESTION: With regard to the travel ban, is that just – are they not allowed to leave Qatar or are they not allowed to leave their home, or – I mean, how far ranging or how constricting is the travel ban? How is it being carried out?

MS. PSAKI: Well, travel ban typically means not allowed to leave the country. I don’t have any other specific details. I can check on them for you if you’d like.

http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2014/06/227036.htm
=======================================================

Daily Press Briefing – June 2, 2014

June 02, 2014: U.S. Department of State Daily Press Briefing by Spokesperson Jen Psaki in Washington, DC.

Video:(49:54}

http://video.state.gov/en/video/3601915402001

canopfor on June 3, 2014 at 12:19 AM

canopfor on June 3, 2014 at 10:44 AM

WASHINGTON — In his five years of captivity, Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was never listed by the Pentagon as a prisoner of war.

Nor has the U.S. applied that term to any of its Taliban prisoners — including the five senior Taliban figures who were released last weekend from detention at the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in exchange for Bergdahl’s freedom.

This administration isn’t much on labels. Fort Hood was tagged as workplace-related violence and not a domestic terror attack. But when it came to freeing Gitmo of the Taliban dream team, Bergdahl needed to be a POW.

Happy Nomad on June 3, 2014 at 10:45 AM

Yeah, well BO can find it within himself to negotiate with the Taliban, but NOT with Republicans.

That pretty much tells you who he believes his true enemies are.

climbnjump on June 3, 2014 at 10:39 AM

This^^^^^

+100,000

Patriot Vet on June 3, 2014 at 10:46 AM

They should as their orders were unethical and seem to be covering for illegality, and every military member is told to ignore such orders if the time comes.

Considering the force of government leveled at people who don’t toe Barky’s line, I give great credit to the soldiers coming forward and talking.

Bishop on June 3, 2014 at 10:18 AM

I think the military below flag officer level (and probably lots of them too) have just about had it with King Abovethelaw. Maybe they will do an Egypt on him. It certainly is justified by their oaths, Barack HUSSEIN Obama is an enemy, DOMESTIC.

ConstantineXI on June 3, 2014 at 10:47 AM

US Army Sgt. Bergdahl freed
War in Afghanistan

1h
US Army preparing to launch high-level inquiry into circumstances, conduct of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, @NBCNews reports
End of alert
=============

Afghanistan
1h
Qatar to allow 5 Afghan Taliban prisoners swapped for US Army Sgt. Bergdahl to move freely around the country – @Reuters
End of alert
================

War in Afghanistan
2h
Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey on Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl: ‘Like any American, he is innocent until proven guilty. Our Army’s leaders will not look away from misconduct if it occurred’ – statement via @NBCNews
End of alert
=============

War in Afghanistan
3h
Former Army Sgt. Josh Korder, who served in the same platoon with Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in Afghanistan: ‘He just became disillusioned with everything’ – @TODAYshow
Read more on today.com
=======================

Obama visits Europe, June 2014
3h
Obama on Bergdahl: ‘We’ve consulted with Congress for some time about prisoner exchange’ – @AP
End of alert

http://www.breakingnews.com/topic/us-army-sgt-bergdahl-held-captive-in-afghanistan/

canopfor on June 3, 2014 at 10:49 AM

Dollars to doughnuts the WH has a representative there in Germany manipulating the out briefing of Bergdahl.

jake49 on June 3, 2014 at 10:49 AM

We’re getting lessons in extremist politics by an extremist president who has has failed his oaths of office, but continues to flit around the world adding damage to the US of A to damage to the US o A.

The question now must become: Does a felonious president get to continue doing his damage to the country without consequence, or does the sh*t hit the fan?

dockywocky on June 3, 2014 at 10:53 AM

Matt Lee @APDiploWriter · 3h

Admin pushes back hard on #Bergdahl criticism: #POTUS comments; @NSCPress on Taliban release legality; @Martin_Dempsey on Bergdahl conduct.

canopfor on June 3, 2014 at 10:54 AM

Retweeted by Matt Lee
Zeke Miller @ZekeJMiller · 3h

Statement by NSC Spokesperson Caitlin Hayden on the NDAA and the Transfer of Taliban Detainees from Guantanamo

https://twitter.com/ZekeJMiller/status/473788371580755968/photo/1

canopfor on June 3, 2014 at 10:55 AM

https://twitter.com/markknoller

Mark Knoller @markknoller · 2h

POTUS conceded released detainees might return to terrorism against US, but he defended release to obtain Bergdahl’s freedom.

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Mark Knoller @markknoller · 3h

“We still get an American soldier back if he’s held, period, full stop. We don’t condition that,” said Pres Obama today in Warsaw.

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Mark Knoller @markknoller · 3h

Pres Obama says the Administration ““saw an opportunity…and we seized that opportunity” to obtain the release of Bergdahl.

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Mark Knoller @markknoller · 3h

Earlier today in Warsaw, Pres Obama defended the release of the Gitmo detainees without prior Congressional notification.

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Mark Knoller @markknoller · 3h

WH/NSC bottom line: “the Secretary of Defense’s failure to provide 30 days’ notice under Section 1035(d) was lawful.” —–

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Mark Knoller @markknoller · 3h

“The Secretary of Defense…determined that providing notice as specified in the statute could endanger the (Bergdahl’s) life,” said NSC.

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Mark Knoller @markknoller · 3h

NSC says it was “construed” the notice provision did not apply to the case of obtained the release of “a captive U.S. soldier.”

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Mark Knoller @markknoller · 3h

NSC cites provision in law permitting Defense Secretary to circumvent the 30-day notice requirement under certain conditions.

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Mark Knoller @markknoller · 3h

Despite the notice requirement, @NSCPress says “It was lawful for the Administration to proceed with the transfer” of detainees.

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Mark Knoller @markknoller · 3h

At the same time, @NSCPress disputes Pres Obama violated the law by not giving Congress 30-days notice on transfer of 5 Gitmo detainees.

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Mark Knoller @markknoller · 3h

Until any finding of misconduct by Bergdahl, says Dempsey, “we will continue to care for him and his family.”

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Mark Knoller @markknoller · 3h

“When he is able to provide them, we’ll learn the facts,” says Dempsey of Bergdahl. He says if misconduct occurred, the Army won’t look away

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Mark Knoller @markknoller · 3h

In a reference to reports Bergdahl had deserted his post, Gen Dempsey says “Like any American, (Bergdahl) is innocent until proven guilty.”

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Mark Knoller @markknoller · 3h

“This was likely the last, best opportunity to free him,” says Gen Dempsey of Sgt Bergdahl..

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Mark Knoller @markknoller · 3h

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs @Martin_Dempsey says Sgt Bergdahl’s conduct is a separate issue from US effort to obtain his release.

canopfor on June 3, 2014 at 10:59 AM

Here is a petition started to punish the deserter:

Punish Bowe Bergdahl for being AWOL / Desertion during Operation Enduring Freedom.

Patriot Vet on June 3, 2014 at 9:54 AM

I’m pretty sure the traitor has to be impeached first.

pedestrian on June 3, 2014 at 11:01 AM

MeanWhile,……:

The Associated Press @AP · 5h
BREAKING: Obama asks Congress to back $1 billion effort to boost US military presence in Europe: http://apne.ws/1rGmIgU

https://twitter.com/AP

canopfor on June 3, 2014 at 11:05 AM

Resist We Much on June 3, 2014 at 9:59 AM

Thanks. I’ve never heard that Bergdahl called his commander, but Hunt as a source is good enough for me.

NavyMustang on June 3, 2014 at 11:05 AM

Matt Lee @APDiploWriter · 3h

Admin pushes back hard on #Bergdahl criticism: #POTUS comments; @NSCPress on Taliban release legality; @Martin_Dempsey on Bergdahl conduct.

canopfor on June 3, 2014 at 10:54 AM

The inherent laziness and ineptitude of this President and his staff has painted themselves into a corner again…

ConstantineXI on June 3, 2014 at 11:06 AM

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