Intel, defense officials claim decision rushed on releasing Taliban leaders from GITMO

posted at 12:01 pm on June 3, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

Ron Fournier offered an insightful analysis of the controversy over the swap that got the US back a captured soldier in exchange for five high-value Taliban leaders, two of whom are wanted by the UN for crimes against humanity. Barack Obama argued today that the US feels confident that these five men are no threat to the US any longer, and that we had a duty to get back a captured soldier regardless of the quality of his service. Fournier admits that he has no strong opinions yet on the deal, and postulates that any strong opinions on it largely reflect the confidence and trust one already had in Obama himself:

If you trust the president – if you buy his assurances about the U.S. capacity to monitor the terrorists and his resolve to take swift action – you’re likely to give him the benefit of the doubt on the swap. In your mind’s eye, you see a drone emblazoned with the names of five nasty Afghans.

If you don’t trust much of what Obama says or does, you’re likely to hate this deal because it depends so heavily on the president’s judgment.

If you’re ambivalent about Obama, the Bergdahl deal probably leaves you – perhaps uncomfortably alone among your family and friends – without a strong opinion.

Because of all the unknowns presently involved in this transaction, that’s likely to be true. However, the unknowns will eventually get unwound and factual data on this decision and its consequences will come to light. We’ve seen the beginning of that process now, and so far it hasn’t painted a very good picture of Obama’s credibility or that of his White House. They’ve mischaracterized Bergdahl’s status, his service record, their engagement with Congress, and blown most of the credibility and trust Fournier notes that Obama needs to carry this deal politically.

Eli Lake puts another nail into that credibility with another exclusive at The Daily Beast. Intelligence and defense officials tell Lake that the internal assessment of the threat posed by the five released Talibani never really changed, but that Obama just put people in charge who agreed with his own assessment instead. What resulted was a rushed and “forced consensus” that didn’t even take the time for proper analysis of the threat:

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 was an example of forcing the consensus,” one U.S. military official said. “The White House knew the answer they wanted and they ended up getting it.” …

But the process for getting there was rushed, according to U.S. intelligence officials. This time around there was no formal intelligence assessment of, for example, the risks posed by releasing the Taliban commanders. While some intelligence analysts looked at the issue, no community-wide intelligence assessment was produced, according to these officials.

The one key difference in this effort was the involvement of the Qataris. Unlike previous efforts, Qatar offered to guarantee security with regard to the five detainees and prevent them from leaving the country. Their status will not really be a “house arrest,” as some have described it, as much as it will be a temporary exile/marooning. However, anyone who wished to come to Qatar to meet with the five will be under no particular constraints from doing so, which means that they can begin to reconnect and rebuild their networks from afar. They will also have no problem conducting propaganda operations, which won’t directly impact American security but may prove embarrassing to Obama as the details of this decision come out.

Fournier’s point echoes what I wrote today at The Week. This deal only works politically to the extent that Obama retains credibility. So far, that aspect has been nothing but disaster and unforced errors:

What price would America pay to regain its only POW? For some, no price would be too high regardless of the circumstances of the POW’s capture. For others, the possibility of desertion — and the lives it cost — make any significant price unthinkable.

Andrew Sullivan accurately referred to this as “an excruciating choice,” and “depressing” in light of the five high-ranking and dangerous Taliban figures released to get Bergdahl back. Most Americans probably fall somewhere in the middle, and would have had sympathy for those who had to make the call — had they approached the issue honestly.

Instead, the White House has continued its track record for disingenuous behavior and flat-out false rationales.  …

Had Obama and the White House followed protocol, engaged Congress on the swap, and stuck with the core principle of bringing back captured Americans no matter how they ended up in enemy hands, they would have avoided much of the controversy. Instead, they once again exhibited arrogance toward Congress and tried finessing the narrative in a way that could not possibly stand up to scrutiny. The administration ended up with egg on its face, looking both incompetent and dishonest rather than torn on a legitimately tough call.

And not for the first time, either.


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In other words, many are surprised that this President, once again, has embraced ‘the ends justifies the means’….

Athos on June 3, 2014 at 12:02 PM

Rushed? Here is how this went down:

“Hey, we need to change the subject on this VA hospital nightmare. Do we have anything in the cooker to push it off the front page?”

portlandon on June 3, 2014 at 12:04 PM

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.

Chuck ‘Fredo’ Hagel.

lol…

BigWyo on June 3, 2014 at 12:05 PM

This deal only works politically to the extent that Obama retains credibility.

When did the Indonesian ever have credibility? Seriously. When? During his start in office and his World Traitor Tour where he went around and blamed America for everything (even colonialism) and then “apologized” for us evil people? Or maybe his credibility started earlier, in the 2008 campaign, when he held the largest political rally of the campaign in a foreign nation, for friggin foreigners, paid in part by a friggin foreign government? Or maybe it was when he turned off the AVS on his campaign donation transactions? I’m baffled by the idea that Barky ever had any credibility, at all.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on June 3, 2014 at 12:06 PM

Can this imbecile go a single week without a major f-up?

Seriously, this isn’t a rhetorical question anymore.

Chuck Schick on June 3, 2014 at 12:07 PM

Barack is a Cluster. How many occurences of un American action by this dupe will we need to convince us? Once a week, at least, till his reign ends, I suppose. ( by the way, Where the heck is Congress in all this ! on vacation ? )

steveracer on June 3, 2014 at 12:07 PM

Barack Obama argued today that the US feels confident that these five men are no threat to the US any longer

Bullshiite of the highest order.

But let’s say they aren’t, are their past crimes still worthy of punishment, especially considering that two of them are wanted by the UN (not exactly America Love Fest Headquarters) for atrocities.

We still prosecute or deport Nazis found living amongst us today, why are these 5 savages any different.

Bishop on June 3, 2014 at 12:08 PM

Qatar allowing freed Taliban men to move freely in country

http://news.yahoo.com/qatar-allowing-freed-taliban-men-move-freely-country-130028784.html

The only way Obama can redeem himself and have some shread of a legacy is to drone the Taliban he just released……

redguy on June 3, 2014 at 12:09 PM

We still prosecute or deport Nazis found living amongst us today, why are these 5 savages any different.

Bishop on June 3, 2014 at 12:08 PM

Because they are Muslim…..

redguy on June 3, 2014 at 12:09 PM

Barack Obama argued today that the US feels confident that these five men are no threat to the US any longer

Anyway, the utter naivety and/or outright evil that exists in the Obama caliphate is mind boggling.

bimmcorp on June 3, 2014 at 12:10 PM

The five deadly terrorists that Obama illegally set free say “THANK YOU!”

Obama will gladly put public safety at risk if he believes he will get a PR boost.

bluegill on June 3, 2014 at 12:11 PM

Barack is a Cluster. How many occurences of un American action by this dupe will we need to convince us? Once a week, at least, till his reign ends, I suppose. ( by the way, Where the heck is Congress in all this ! on vacation ? )

steveracer on June 3, 2014 at 12:07 PM

I told everyone since Obama slithered onto the scene that he was a Muslim…..

He is and he sympathizes with them.

redguy on June 3, 2014 at 12:11 PM

It was all about getting the VA off the news…

PatriotRider on June 3, 2014 at 12:11 PM

Can this imbecile go a single week without a major f-up?

Seriously, this isn’t a rhetorical question anymore.

Chuck Schick on June 3, 2014 at 12:07 PM

Gee…and I thought the ‘Obama Doctrine’ was ‘don’t do any stupid shlt’??

bimmcorp on June 3, 2014 at 12:11 PM

Rushed? Here is how this went down:

“Hey, we need to change the subject on this VA hospital nightmare. Do we have anything in the cooker to push it off the front page?”

portlandon on June 3, 2014 at 12:04 PM

What you say there is exactly how it went down, and no more thought was put into it than that.

“Give them whatever they want, get this guy out, get the family in the Rose Garden so the President can spike the football, get the VA out of the headlines”

They didn’t even do a 30 second investigation into the circumstances of Bergdahl’s “capture”.

ConstantineXI on June 3, 2014 at 12:12 PM

in exchange for five high-value Taliban leaders
================================================

Where ever they may roam,..(sarc)

Afghanistan
3h

Qatar to allow

5 Afghan Taliban prisoners swapped for US Army Sgt. Bergdahl

to move freely around the country

- @Reuters
End of alert

canopfor on June 3, 2014 at 12:12 PM

Gee…and I thought the ‘Obama Doctrine’ was ‘don’t do any stupid shlt’??

bimmcorp on June 3, 2014 at 12:11 PM

They are the worst kind of stupid people… Stupid people who think they are geniuses. So they can’t help but do stupid sh!t.

ConstantineXI on June 3, 2014 at 12:13 PM

obama is a traitor to the USA and the world and s/b tried and punished as such.

He freed 6 of his bros, 5 to the Taliban and one to the USA.

I’m glad this backfired in his destructive face.

Schadenfreude on June 3, 2014 at 12:14 PM

(c) Any person found guilty of desertion or attempt to desert shall be punished, if the offense is committed in time of war, by death or such other punishment as a court-martial may direct, but if the desertion or attempt to desert occurs at any other time, by such punishment, other than death, as a court-martial may direct.

Schadenfreude on June 3, 2014 at 12:15 PM

Yeah they are saying Bergdahl’s life was in jeopardy. I want the hospital reports proving this.

melle1228 on June 3, 2014 at 12:15 PM

This is just incredible, a single year of house arrest in a friendly nation for guys who are wanted for slaughter so awful that merely describing it in a few words would curl your hair.

Even Carter at least attempted a military op to get our hostages back, Dog Eater just gave a green light to every terrorist on the globe to go looking for an American to use as barter.

Bishop on June 3, 2014 at 12:15 PM

if you buy his assurances about the U.S. capacity to monitor the terrorists

The NSA is using to many resources to monitor our FaceBook Pages, there just isn’t enough manpower or time in the day to keep up with terrorists.

MrsGsBoyTommy on June 3, 2014 at 12:15 PM

Impeach.

John the Libertarian on June 3, 2014 at 12:15 PM

They got egg on their face because they are bad salesmen.They have no street sense like most Americans do.Up until now the media has sold their crap for them.The people aren’t buying on this one.

docflash on June 3, 2014 at 12:16 PM

DOHA (Reuters) – Qatar has moved five Afghan Taliban prisoners freed in exchange for a U.S. soldier to a residential compound and will let them move freely in the country, a senior Gulf official said on Tuesday, a step likely to be scrutinized by Washington.

U.S. officials have referred to the release of the Islamist militants as a transfer and said they would be subject to certain restrictions in Qatar. One of the officials said that would include a minimum one-year ban on them traveling outside of Qatar as well as monitoring of their activities.

“All five men received medical checks and they now live with their families in an accommodation facility in Doha,” the Gulf source, who declined to be identified, told Reuters. “They can move around freely within the country.”

Following the deal under which freed the last American soldier held in Afghanistan was freed, concerns have been expressed by some U.S. intelligence officials and congressional advisers over the role of the Gulf Arab state as a bridge between Washington and the world of radical Islam.

The Gulf official said the Taliban men, who have been granted Qatari residency permits, will not be treated like prisoners while in Doha and no U.S. officials will be involved in monitoring their movement while in the country.

“Under the deal they have to stay in Qatar for a year and then they will be allowed to travel outside the country… They can go back to Afghanistan if they want to,” the official said.

Drudge link

Wethal on June 3, 2014 at 12:17 PM

(c) Any person found guilty of desertion or attempt to desert shall be punished, if the offense is committed in time of war, by death or such other punishment as a court-martial may direct, but if the desertion or attempt to desert occurs at any other time, by such punishment, other than death, as a court-martial may direct.

Schadenfreude on June 3, 2014 at 12:15 PM

The least of his crimes is desertion. He’s probably given material aid to the Taliban which also means he’s guilty of treason too.

Either way he’s facing a firing squad.

ConstantineXI on June 3, 2014 at 12:18 PM

This is not a POW exchange like past wars. Terrorists are not and have never been considered prisoners of war, not even under the Geneva Convention. Article Five. They’re illegal enemy combatants or if you prefer unlawful enemy combatants.

We don’t exchange soldiers for terrorists! And these five terrorists are to be held until the end of hostilities. Hostilities haven’t ended.

http://therightscoop.com/mark-levin-the-bergdahl-exchange-was-not-a-pow-exchange/

bluefox on June 3, 2014 at 12:19 PM

Still don’t believe the “accidental” release of the station Cheif’s name was a coincidence.

Ben Hur on June 3, 2014 at 12:20 PM

Impeach.

John the Libertarian on June 3, 2014 at 12:15 PM

We’re beyond impeachment. We need a military coup. The Senate will never try Obama, he needs to face a military tribunal for his crimes as commander in chief.

ConstantineXI on June 3, 2014 at 12:20 PM

Col. Tim Marsano, a family spokesman, said the parents traveled to Washington for long-scheduled briefings with the State and Defense department about their son’s case. He said it was “completely coincidental” that they were in Washington when their son was freed.

O_O

O_o

o_O

Bishop on June 3, 2014 at 12:21 PM

What I want to know is, how a PFC deserts his post, collaborates with the enemy for five years, and returns a Staff Sergeant? I was never in the military, but don’t you have to earn promotions in rank?

HornHiAceDeuce on June 3, 2014 at 12:22 PM

Seems like its an open and shut case.

VA Scandal was blowing up. Obama needed this to distract Americans from the VA horror show. He didn’t think things through, per usual, rushed a decision, and now it’s backfiring as well.

All of this seems like vintage Obama to me.

Ca97 on June 3, 2014 at 12:23 PM

Still don’t believe the “accidental” release of the station Cheif’s name was a coincidence.

Ben Hur on June 3, 2014 at 12:20 PM

Yep.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on June 3, 2014 at 12:23 PM

My heart goes out to our POWs, even those whose conduct may not have been stellar.
Nevertheless, how do we compare obama’s decision, supposedly driven by the desire to obtain the release of one American POW, with decisions such as Eishenhower’s to invade Normandy, which necessarily led to the deaths of thousands of American soldiers?

GaltBlvnAtty on June 3, 2014 at 12:23 PM

US feels confident that these five men are no threat

Um……………er………………………uh………are they STILL BREATHING??

Yes?

Then they are STILL a THREAT!!!!!

Beam me the hell UP Scotty!

Katfish on June 3, 2014 at 12:23 PM

Trying to argue that these 5 gizmo guys will pose no future threat to the US is on par with the ” if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor” claim. No wonder the first lady always look like she is having a cow, she has hitched her wagon to a lier and con man. Not that she minds this, it’s just that everyone now knows it and it is making her look bad. As for the rest of us, when the one empties out gizmo, any suggestions for personal firearms protection?

warmairfan on June 3, 2014 at 12:24 PM

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.

Doesn’t Hagel have some rather strong, strident, and odd attitudes about war? I know it’s generally verboten to criticize those like him who have been in combat. But here are the first 6 quotes of his at Brainyquotes:

Foreign policy will require a strategic agility that, whenever possible, gets ahead of problems, strengthens U.S. security and alliances, and promotes American interests and credibility.

Peace comes through dealing with people. Peace doesn’t come at the end of a bayonet or the end of a gun.

Bogging down large armies in historically complex, dangerous areas ends in disaster.

Engagement is not appeasement. Engagement is not surrender.

Imposing democracy through force is a roll of the dice.

Nations, great nations have limitations. All nations have limitations. Even great powers have limitations.

A word cloud would highlight these words: Peace not a gun, bogging down large armies, appeasement, surrender, limitations.

LashRambo on June 3, 2014 at 12:24 PM

he needs to face a military tribunal for his crimes as commander in chief.

ConstantineXI on June 3, 2014 at 12:20 PM

I like that idea very much.

John the Libertarian on June 3, 2014 at 12:25 PM

State Dept’s Jen Psaki Loses It: Bergdahl Is “Marine Taken In Combat”, #MarineHeldInMexico Is “Individual” Accused Of “Breaking Law”

So, so, so much wrong with this.

Resist We Much on June 3, 2014 at 12:20 PM

RWM: The Gauntlet————————-:0
============================================

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 12:25 PM

“Under the deal they have to stay in Qatar for a year and then they will be allowed to travel outside the country… They can go back to Afghanistan if they want to,” the official said.

Isn’t that just sweet.

We had 5 of the worst terrorist savages on the planet locked up and now they are essentially free men because Dog Eater needed a distraction.

You 52%’er race pimps really pulled a fast one on the rest of us. I want to thank you for your great service to this nation.

Bishop on June 3, 2014 at 12:26 PM

Barack Obama argued today that the US feels confident that these five men are no threat to the US any longer,

We’ll see what he says when these guys are learned to be at the root of the next mainland 9/11.

BuckeyeSam on June 3, 2014 at 12:27 PM


*************** Comforting Assurances **********************!!

US Army Sgt. Bergdahl freed
1m
Pentagon on reports that 5 Guantanamo detainees transferred in Bergdahl deal will have freedom of movement in Qatar: ‘Secretary Hagel determined that this transfer was in the national interest. He is comfortable with the security assurances we received from the Qatari government’ – @NBCNews

https://twitter.com/NBCNews

canopfor on June 3, 2014 at 12:29 PM

Is it mental illness? I think it’s mental illness.

John the Libertarian on June 3, 2014 at 12:29 PM

Exchange five silver dollars for a nickel?
Doesn’t sound like a good deal.
Think we got took.

TimBuk3 on June 3, 2014 at 12:29 PM

(c) Any person found guilty of desertion or attempt to desert shall be punished, if the offense is committed in time of war, by death or such other punishment as a court-martial may direct, but if the desertion or attempt to desert occurs at any other time, by such punishment, other than death, as a court-martial may direct.

Schadenfreude on June 3, 2014 at 12:15 PM

There seems to be a technical out here that I’m sure some enterprising attorney will attempt to use: We aren’t technically at war with anyone.

If Bergdahl is actually court martialed, and convicted and sentenced to death for desertion, this will likely get tied up on appeal for years based on the question of what ‘time of war’ means.

NotCoach on June 3, 2014 at 12:30 PM

Obama: “If you like yo safety from dangerous Gitmo detainees, you can keep yo safety from dangerous Gitmo detainees. Period.”

BuckeyeSam on June 3, 2014 at 12:30 PM

Exchange five silver dollars for a plug nickel?
Doesn’t sound like a good deal.
Think we got took.

TimBuk3 on June 3, 2014 at 12:29 PM

Just a little polish.

BuckeyeSam on June 3, 2014 at 12:31 PM

I like that idea very much.

John the Libertarian on June 3, 2014 at 12:25 PM

My argument for this is that there is no precedent, no procedure IMAGINED for a President that has so blatantly defied the law as Obama has, and a Congress that is so corrupt that they will IGNORE his crimes.

I think at that point the military is completely justified in moving in to take him out to preserve the Republic. After all, they take an oath NOT to Obama, but to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States against ALL enemies, foreign, AND DOMESTIC.

Slap the cuffs on him, and let him rot at Leavenworth pending trial.

ConstantineXI on June 3, 2014 at 12:32 PM

If Bergdahl is actually court martialed, and convicted and sentenced to death for desertion, this will likely get tied up on appeal for years based on the question of what ‘time of war’ means.

NotCoach on June 3, 2014 at 12:30 PM

They haven’t called it war since World War II, but every war except Obama’s Libyan Adventure fought since has been authorized by Congress under the same procedure. I don’t think there is any difference legalistically.

Bergdahl was deployed to a war zone, was receiving war pay and deserted his post.

ConstantineXI on June 3, 2014 at 12:35 PM

There seems to be a technical out here that I’m sure some enterprising attorney will attempt to use: We aren’t technically at war with anyone.

If Bergdahl is actually court martialed, and convicted and sentenced to death for desertion, this will likely get tied up on appeal for years based on the question of what ‘time of war’ means.

NotCoach on June 3, 2014 at 12:30 PM

Oh….then he wasn’t a POW, and the President has no authority to exchange non-POWs.

Oh, what a tangled web they weave………

BobMbx on June 3, 2014 at 12:36 PM

“This was an example of forcing the consensus,” one U.S. military official said. “The White House knew the answer they wanted and they ended up getting it.”

AKA when political considerations are the only factors for ever doing anything about anything.

Bitter Clinger on June 3, 2014 at 12:36 PM

That w/b us

Schadenfreude on June 3, 2014 at 12:38 PM

They’ve mischaracterized BLATANTLY LIED ABOUT Bergdahl’s status, his service record, their engagement with Congress,

Edited for accuracy.

AZCoyote on June 3, 2014 at 12:38 PM

Contrary to press reports, the Afghan Taliban – aka the Quetta Shura – never had their hands on Sgt. Bergdahl. He was always under the control of the Haqqani network.

President Obama knew for too long where Sgt. Bergdahl was and did nothing to get him back. The Pakistanis, who also knew, haven’t been sanctioned for their culpability in this outrage, much less for the sanctuary they provided for Osama bin Laden.

But as history has shown, when negotiating with the Haqqanis you need to sharpen your pencil and bring a big checkbook.

Why would the Haqqanis ever hand over a hostage (referred to locally as “Golden Sparrows’) as valuable as Sgt. Bergdahl without getting anything in return?

http://www.theblaze.com/contributions/negotiating-with-terrorists-inside-the-capture-and-release-of-sgt-bowe-bergdahl/

Much more in that article by Brad Thor.

H/T Schadenfreude on June 2, 2014 at 11:41 PM
on last night’s QOTD

bluefox on June 3, 2014 at 12:38 PM

Death sentence

Schadenfreude on June 3, 2014 at 12:39 PM

Oh….then he wasn’t a POW, and the President has no authority to exchange non-POWs.

Oh, what a tangled web they weave………

BobMbx on June 3, 2014 at 12:36 PM

I heard on a news report driving to work this morning that a military source said that Bergdahl wasn’t classed as a POW by the Army, that they had him as a deserter. So how did he get two promotions, from PFC to Specialist, from Specialist to Sergeant during his “captivity”?

No blaming Booooooosh on this one, it all happened under Comrade Obama.

ConstantineXI on June 3, 2014 at 12:39 PM

All about the O and his legacy

cmsinaz on June 3, 2014 at 12:40 PM

Does Obama have to tattoo ‘I’m a traitor’ on his forehead before people get the picture?

WhatSlushfund on June 3, 2014 at 12:41 PM

Death sentence

Schadenfreude on June 3, 2014 at 12:39 PM

His desertion/treason caused the deaths of at least 6 of his fellow servicemen, possibly much more if he was actively working with the terrorists. If tried and convicted, death is the only possible sentence.

Every serviceman and woman knows going in what the penalty is for desertion and treason.

ConstantineXI on June 3, 2014 at 12:42 PM

Results for #BoweBergdahl

https://twitter.com/hashtag/BoweBergdahl?src=hash

Retweeted 621 times
Daniel John Sobieski ‏@gerfingerpoken 21h

Two bearded guys: One praises Allah, is hugged by Obama, other praises Jesus & is damned by libs #BoweBergdahl – pic.twitter.com/UDIiJPYJlu

https://twitter.com/gerfingerpoken/status/473539106585051136/photo/1

canopfor on June 3, 2014 at 12:42 PM

All about the O and his legacy

cmsinaz on June 3, 2014 at 12:40 PM

cmsinaz: Accurate and Correct:0

canopfor on June 3, 2014 at 12:43 PM

All about the O and his legacy

cmsinaz on June 3, 2014 at 12:40 PM

The Obama legacy has yet to be realized. Obama has already destroyed a major US city via islamic nuclear device even though it hasn’t happened yet. When it does, it’s all on him. His disastrous coddling and dithering with Iran has made it inevitable.

ConstantineXI on June 3, 2014 at 12:44 PM

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.

To a degree all Presidents do this.

With that said they are put in as one to guide an institution and that means that whatever their own personal outlooks are, they are also to understand the given duties handed to them and execute those even when they disagree with their basis because that is what the institution requires. That also means not being a ‘yes man’ but to serve the institution and the President by bringing viewpoints that differ from one’s own to the table.

When that isn’t done, then it is faithless execution of the powers temporarily entrusted to the leader of the organization. It is also destructive to the organization when personal ideals are put in place of institutional requirements. That is NOT serving the President properly.

Any President who can’t take that sort of pushback from an institution is not capable of executing the duties of the office faithfully.

This President was supposed to be so smart.

Smart Presidents don’t surround themselves with ‘yes men’ because they know they can intellectually handle the duties and requirements of the office and faithfully execute those powers entrusted to them temporarily, even when they are at odds, even extreme odds, with their ideological viewpoints.

ajacksonian on June 3, 2014 at 12:44 PM

Report: Bergdahl Renounced His Citizenship…

Jenna Lee @Jennafnc

Great reporting from @JenGriffinFNC – new report: Bergdahl left behind a note renouncing American citizenship…developing…

11:43 AM – 3 June 2014

Oh.

My.

Resist We Much on June 3, 2014 at 12:44 PM

ConstantineXI on June 3, 2014 at 12:42 PM

Treason is a crime under the US Code, not the UCMJ. But, all US citizens are subject to the US Code.

Its two jurisdictions, and can be tried separately. In wartime, both carry the death penalty.

But does anyone imagine, in their wildest fantasy, that Obama would not pardon his rescuee before they put a bunch of bullets in his brain?

BobMbx on June 3, 2014 at 12:45 PM

Mr cmsinaz bets they won’t be in Qatar more than 2 weeks and Obama will probably give bergdahl a medal for his honor and integrity

cmsinaz on June 3, 2014 at 12:46 PM

The least of his crimes is desertion. He’s probably given material aid to the Taliban which also means he’s guilty of treason too.

Either way he’s facing a firing squad.

ConstantineXI on June 3, 2014 at 12:18 PM

Obama will give this guy a full pardon and then probably pay him and his family millions of tax payer dollars for their “suffering & anguish”…….

Meanwhile – The Mexicans hold our Marine on bullshit charges while ICE is busing thousands of illegal kids to Arizona and other points to be with family…..What in the hell is going on?

redguy on June 3, 2014 at 12:47 PM

Resist We Much on June 3, 2014 at 12:44 PM

Oh my is right.

Seems like their motto is more like “just do stupid shit”

BobMbx on June 3, 2014 at 12:47 PM

OOPS!!

Russia
1m
Pentagon says a Russian fighter jet intercepted an American reconnaissance plane in international airspace over the Pacific in late April, prompting top officials to communicate their concerns to the Russian military – @AP

canopfor on June 3, 2014 at 12:47 PM

Report: Bergdahl Renounced His Citizenship…

Jenna Lee @Jennafnc

Great reporting from @JenGriffinFNC – new report: Bergdahl left behind a note renouncing American citizenship…developing…

11:43 AM – 3 June 2014

Oh.

My.

Resist We Much on June 3, 2014 at 12:44 PM

Then he should go to Gitmo and take the place of the 5 Obama gave away.

redguy on June 3, 2014 at 12:48 PM

They’re illegal enemy combatants or if you prefer unlawful enemy combatants.

bluefox on June 3, 2014 at 12:19 PM

Undocumented enemy combatants?

Trafalgar on June 3, 2014 at 12:48 PM

Great reporting from @JenGriffinFNC – new report: Bergdahl left behind a note renouncing American citizenship…developing…

11:43 AM – 3 June 2014

Oh.

My.

Resist We Much on June 3, 2014 at 12:44 PM

RWM: Wow,…at this rate, by the minute:)

canopfor on June 3, 2014 at 12:49 PM

Canopfor :)

Constantine… yup

cmsinaz on June 3, 2014 at 12:49 PM

VA Scandal was blowing up. Obama needed this to distract Americans from the VA horror show. He didn’t think things through, per usual, rushed a decision, and now it’s backfiring as well.

Ca97 on June 3, 2014 at 12:23 PM

That probably accounted for the timing, but I think BO was going to spring Bergdahl soon anyway.

I think BO saw Bergdahl in the hands of the Taliban as an impediment to winding down the war and bringing all the soldiers back home. So getting this guy back was just clearing the decks for the continuation of winding down the war.

And the bonus was releasing 5 more Gitmo “guests” and bring that closer to closure.

climbnjump on June 3, 2014 at 12:50 PM

Oh.

My.

Resist We Much on June 3, 2014 at 12:44 PM

If true, hang him from the nearest tree.

NotCoach on June 3, 2014 at 12:51 PM

Mr cmsinaz bets they won’t be in Qatar more than 2 weeks and Obama will probably give bergdahl a medal for his honor and integrity

cmsinaz on June 3, 2014 at 12:46 PM

Well, at least, Bergdahl won’t have to borrow Lurch’s to throw over a fence somewhere.

Resist We Much on June 3, 2014 at 12:53 PM

Undocumented enemy combatants?

Trafalgar on June 3, 2014 at 12:48 PM

Future Democrat voting Patriots.

ConstantineXI on June 3, 2014 at 12:56 PM

‘We don’t leave Americans behind…um, what??? He renounced his citizenship and I gave up 5 of the worst terrorists? Hurry. Find a YouTube video. I need to blame something.’

- Obama

Resist We Much on June 3, 2014 at 12:57 PM

Does Obama have to tattoo ‘I’m a traitor’ on his forehead before people get the picture?

WhatSlushfund on June 3, 2014 at 12:41 PM

Obama says all kinds of nuanced things. It’s hard to get a feel for his real attitudes. Here’s a shot at the big picture — Reagan thought the US was great, government was the problem. Obama thinks the US is the problem, and government is great. He’s said he doesn’t believe in US exceptionalism. But it’s worse than that. He thinks we’re what’s wrong with the world.

LashRambo on June 3, 2014 at 12:57 PM

Rushed? Here is how this went down:

“Hey, we need to change the subject on this VA hospital nightmare. Do we have anything in the cooker to push it off the front page?”

portlandon on June 3, 2014 at 12:04 PM

Yes, but you aren’t giving them enough credit as I think they had 2 politically motivated thoughts:

“Hey, we need to change the subject on this VA nightmare and make the Vets think we are looking out for them. Do we have anything in the cooker to shift the headlines on the front page”

This is a very complex administration and deserves credit for being the dumbest on record in the history of this country. In essence they may have slapped the vets by trading 5 terrorists for 1 military traitor. Rice’s Sunday talk show comments put the icing on the cake.

tej on June 3, 2014 at 1:03 PM

Andrew Sullivan accurately referred to this as “an excruciating choice,” and “depressing” in light of the five high-ranking and dangerous Taliban figures released to get Bergdahl back.

Of course it’s a wretched choice to have to make. But it’s the same choice that the selfless Flight 93 victims made. The choice to sacrifice themselves to potentially save thousands.

Obama chose wrong. He chose to save one and has now potentially put countless lives at risk.

lynncgb on June 3, 2014 at 1:03 PM

I would go considerably farther and posit that the five will have no problem leaving Qatar whenever they feel like it. The idea that anyone can trust a Muslim government to take any significant action to curtail jihad is nonsense, proven repeatedly over time.

Hucklebuck on June 3, 2014 at 1:03 PM

Yeah, and how much money did obummer give the Taliban on this deal too.

jake49 on June 3, 2014 at 1:03 PM

I think BO saw Bergdahl in the hands of the Taliban as an impediment to winding down the war and bringing all the soldiers back home. So getting this guy back was just clearing the decks for the continuation of winding down the war.

And the bonus was releasing 5 more Gitmo “guests” and bring that closer to closure.

climbnjump on June 3, 2014 at 12:50 PM

Contrary to press reports, the Afghan Taliban – aka the Quetta Shura – never had their hands on Sgt. Bergdahl. He was always under the control of the Haqqani network.

Read the article I linked to upthread by Brad Thor at the Blaze.

The Haqqanis are heavily tied to both Al Qaeda (providing them safe passage and support) and the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence agency, also known as the ISI. The Haqqanis are a heavily criminal enterprise sowing and feeding off of the chaos in the Afghanistan/Pakistan region. Envision Al Qaeda crossed with the Sopranos and you begin to get the picture of what these thugs are like.

bluefox on June 3, 2014 at 1:06 PM

…whose health is JugEars concerned about?

KOOLAID2 on June 3, 2014 at 1:06 PM

Forced Consensus.

Also known as Coercion, Blackmail, or Extortion.

Meople on June 3, 2014 at 1:08 PM

Still don’t believe the “accidental” release of the station Cheif’s name was a coincidence.

Ben Hur on June 3, 2014 at 12:20 PM

It was retaliation against Karzai for refusing to meet Obama during the Afghan visit. Revealing the station chief will also expose Afghan operatives in the field, which puts Afghanis at risk. Tit for tat.

It’s how Obama rolls.

MichaelGabriel on June 3, 2014 at 1:11 PM

Obama, his Administration, his Agenda and his desire to bring America to her knees disgusts me beyond words.

He will fail. Let’s hope it is sooner than later.

Key West Reader on June 3, 2014 at 1:12 PM

Be sure to watch Brad Thor on the Kelley Files tonight.

Schadenfreude on June 3, 2014 at 1:13 PM

VA Scandal was blowing up. Obama needed this to distract Americans from the VA horror show. He didn’t think things through, per usual, rushed a decision, and now it’s backfiring as well.

Ca97 on June 3, 2014 at 12:23 PM

Cocaine is a helluva drug.

ezspirit on June 3, 2014 at 1:14 PM

They’re illegal enemy combatants or if you prefer unlawful enemy combatants.

bluefox on June 3, 2014 at 12:19 PM

Undocumented enemy combatants?

Trafalgar on June 3, 2014 at 12:48 PM

Terrorists is the correct description imo. “Undocumented” may have a different legal meaning. I’m sure Levin or RWM would have a better answer:-)

bluefox on June 3, 2014 at 1:15 PM

Yepper rwm:)

cmsinaz on June 3, 2014 at 1:20 PM

I’m guessing there are no military veterans in Obama’s inner circle.

myiq2xu on June 3, 2014 at 1:21 PM

Exchange five silver dollars for a nickel?
Doesn’t sound like a good deal.
Think we got took.

TimBuk3 on June 3, 2014 at 12:29 PM

More like released 5 rabid dogs for at best a worthless deserter.

wifarmboy on June 3, 2014 at 1:30 PM

If Gitmo detainees are the proverbial “deck of cards,” then the Obama administration is dealing off the bottom. Instead, they could have reshuffled, or dealt randomly off the top, or said pick–without looking–any five cards.

Christien on June 3, 2014 at 1:59 PM

Instead, the administration was showing all it’s cards and telling the Taliban, “GO FISH!”

Christien on June 3, 2014 at 2:00 PM

its

Christien on June 3, 2014 at 2:00 PM

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