Latest excuse for not following law: The devil made us do it; Update: Taliban proposed deal in June 2013 AP interview

posted at 1:21 pm on June 5, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

If Democrats worried about the incompetence of the White House in the Taliban swap, they should be in full-fledged panic attack after the latest attempt by the Obama administration to spin their violation of the law. Statute signed by Obama required 30 days’ notice to Congress before releasing anyone from Guantanamo Bay’s detention center, let alone the five worst non-AQ Taliban figures being held. The AP issued a “breaking” report five days after the deal was announced with no notification at all that the White House was told by the Taliban not to tell anyone, or they would kill Bowe Bergdahl:

First, let’s parse this on its merits. By Saturday, we had Bergdahl back, and the Taliban had … five of the worst mass murderers and terrorist leaders back in the open. By Sunday, at least, people were already pointing out that the White House had violated the law with this release, and the two intel committee chairs didn’t even get their calls until Monday night. It took five days to go public with this and let everyone know that the White House had agreed to that condition?

And if this is true, it means that Obama allowed the Taliban to dictate whether the US follows the rule of law or not. It also flies in the face of a long tradition of Congressional leadership acting with care in covert situations when the lives of men and women serving abroad are at stake. That’s even more insulting to Congress than the initial arrogance shown after the complaints about their failure to notify them.

But let’s face it — this is sheer nonsense, and everyone knows it. Bergdahl was kept alive for five years because he had value as a trading chit to the Taliban. Why would they kill him on the cusp of getting exactly what they wanted, just because it leaked to the press? They’d possibly have had some internal resistance, but after five years of negotiating with Bergdahl, no one would have been surprised by a deal.

As Rep. Justin Amash says, this just doesn’t add up:

And as our friend Morgen Richmond pointed out on Twitter, the AP itself reported six weeks ago that the Taliban was agitating to make a deal:

Critics of the U.S. government’s nearly five-year effort to seek the release of the only American soldier held captive in Afghanistan claim the work suffers from disorganization and poor communication among numerous federal agencies involved, leaving his captors unclear which U.S. officials have the authority to make a deal.

The shrinking U.S. military footprint in Afghanistan has refocused attention on efforts to bring home Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, of Hailey, Idaho, who has been held by the Taliban since June 30, 2009.

About two dozen officials at the State and Defense departments, the military’s U.S. Central Command, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, U.S. Special Operations Command, the CIA and FBI are working the case — most of them doing it alongside their other duties, a defense official said.

Bergdahl’s captors are anxious to release him, according to a defense official and a military officer, who both spoke to The Associated Press only on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the case publicly.

“Elements in all echelons — from the top of the Taliban down to the folks holding Bergdahl — are reaching out to make a deal,” the defense official said.

So the Obama administration can leak to the press about how the Taliban want to make a deal, but Congress can’t be trusted to keep a deal secret? Is that how this works?

Update: Heck, even if the Taliban didn’t get the wire services, they could have read about the deal in the New York Times in 2012, as Allahpundit points out. It even came from the Bergdahls themselves:

The parents of the only American soldier held captive by Afghan insurgents have broken a yearlong silence about the status of their son, abruptly making public that he is a focus of secret negotiations between the Obama administration and the Taliban over a proposed prisoner exchange.

The negotiations, currently stalled, involved a trade of five Taliban prisoners held at the American military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl of the Army, who is believed to be held by the militant Haqqani network in the tribal area of Pakistan’s northwest frontier, on the Afghan border. Sergeant Bergdahl was captured in Paktika Province in Afghanistan on June 30, 2009. His family has not heard from him in a year, since they saw him in a Taliban video, although they and the Pentagon believe that he is alive and well.

The family’s decision to end its silence could free up the Obama administration to discuss the case publicly and reframe the debate in Washington about releasing the Taliban prisoners, which is seen as a crucial confidence-building measure in efforts to strike a political settlement with the Taliban. American officials believe that a peace deal would help ensure Afghanistan’s stability after 2014, when most American and NATO forces will have left the country. In the absence of a prisoner exchange agreement, those talks are “moribund,” one Western official said.

So the idea that the Taliban needed strict operational security or else is sheer nonsense. It’s yet another horribly incompetent attempt to get Obama out from under an avalanche of well-earned criticism for his ineptitude and arrogance.

Update: Twitter reader ConservativeLA made an interesting observation:

I wonder how Senate Intelligence Committee chair Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) interprets this spin. Certainly seems to be a pretty good definition here.

Update: Yeah, it was the Taliban who wanted this deal kept secret – riiiiiiiiiiight:

The proposal to trade U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl for the Taliban detainees was made by senior Taliban spokesman Shaheen Suhail in response to a question during a phone interview with The Associated Press from the militants’ newly opened political office in Doha, the capital of the Gulf nation of Qatar.

The prisoner exchange is the first item on the Taliban’s agenda before even starting peace talks with the U.S., said Suhail, a top Taliban figure who served as first secretary at the Afghan Embassy in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad before the Taliban government’s ouster in 2001.

“First has to be the release of detainees,” Suhail said Thursday when asked about Bergdahl. “Yes. It would be an exchange. Then step by step, we want to build bridges of confidence to go forward.”

The Obama administration was noncommittal about the proposal, which it said it had expected the Taliban to make.

“We’ve been very clear on our feelings about Sgt. Bergdahl and the need for him to be released,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. “We have not made a decision to … transfer any Taliban detainees from Guantanamo Bay, but we anticipate, as I’ve said, that the Taliban will all raise this issue.”

That was almost exactly a year ago, by the way.


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Comment pages: 1 2

Southernblogger on June 5, 2014 at 2:21 PM

If the net effect of that is a minor drop in approval ratings, and removal of other Administration scandals from the front pages – what does the Administration have to lose?

Finally achieving one of BHO’ first Presidential promises combined with the unilateral surrender end of the war in Afghanistan will pay divides with the barking moonbat base.

Athos on June 5, 2014 at 2:26 PM

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on June 5, 2014 at 2:21 PM He releases 5 mass murders that will kill again, Obama has endangered people it is treason.

sorrowen on June 5, 2014 at 2:26 PM

…someone here is always pissing on the floor…and suggesting he is hitting the urinal.

KOOLAID2 on June 5, 2014 at 2:26 PM

im not defending it..just pointing out that it probably falls far short of treason.
ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on June 5, 2014 at 2:21 PM

wanna bet?

Newtie and the Beauty on June 5, 2014 at 2:29 PM

The Taliban wasn’t holding Bergdahl. The Haqqani Network was and the Obama administration designated it a terrorist organisation in 2012.

Resist We Much on June 5, 2014 at 2:04 PM

Taliban call Haqqani Network a ‘conjured entity’

In the statement, the Taliban claimed that there is “no separate entity or network in Afghanistan by the name of Haqqani,” and that its overall leader, Jalaluddin Haqqani, is a member of the Quetta Shura, the group’s top leadership council.

kcewa on June 5, 2014 at 2:31 PM

We are gonna need more popcorn.

bitsy on June 5, 2014 at 2:31 PM

verbaluce must be back in session.

Schadenfreude on June 5, 2014 at 2:34 PM

Taliban proposed deal in 2013.

obama obliged his bros in 2014.

Allah is very pleased.

I hope that they will all meet their virgins when they greet Allah, and that they will all be Haqquanis. Just ask Bergdahl how rough they are.

Schadenfreude on June 5, 2014 at 2:35 PM

‘Opponents of President Obama have seized upon the release of an American prisoner of war. That’s what he was.

- Harry Reid

No, he wasn’t. The Pentagon had 5 years to label Bergdahl a ‘POW’ and chose not to do so…for very good reason.

‘Using a moment of celebration as a chance to play political games.’

- Harry Reid

Celebrate what?

This…???

Treason? U.S. Intel: Bergdahl May Have Been An ‘Active Collaborator’ With The Taliban At A Level That Is ‘As Serious As You Can Imagine’

Resist We Much on June 5, 2014 at 2:35 PM

BREAKING: Officials: Congress not told of swap because Taliban threatened to kill Bergdahl if it leaked .

— The Associated Press (@AP) June 5, 2014

The Ass-sociated Press Volkischer Beobachter always carrying the Fuehrer’s water.

viking01 on June 5, 2014 at 2:37 PM

Schadenfreude on June 5, 2014 at 2:35 PM

That can’t be correct, Schade–Congress pitched a fit back in 2011, as I recall, over the release of detainees, THESE detainees, in exchange for Bergdahl; therefore, negotiations have been ongoing, in one form or another, since at least 2011.

Newtie and the Beauty on June 5, 2014 at 2:40 PM

The proposal to trade U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl for the Taliban detainees was made by senior Taliban spokesman Shaheen Suhail in response to a question during a phone interview with The Associated Press from the militants’ newly opened political office in Doha, the capital of the Gulf nation of Qatar.

The prisoner exchange is the first item on the Taliban’s agenda before even starting peace talks with the U.S., said Suhail, a top Taliban figure who served as first secretary at the Afghan Embassy in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad before the Taliban government’s ouster in 2001.

Like I said on another thread, Obozo didn’t even try to trade for less – he gave them all they wanted! Now they are going to expect everything they ask for in any ‘negotiation’ going forward.

Taliban – “We want these five released for the deserter.”
Obozo – “Uh…OK…sounds good.”
Taliban – “Ahhh….sweet. Nice doin’ business with ya!”

What a F@CKING IDIOT! He knows as much about that culture as he does about governing, nothing!

Patriot Vet on June 5, 2014 at 2:40 PM

Lying liars who lie…what else is new?

Annielou on June 5, 2014 at 2:43 PM

Obama’s clearly a master negotiator. I wonder if this began as a 1-to-1 swap, but the pres played hardball and held out for 5.

ROCnPhilly on June 5, 2014 at 2:44 PM

What I see clearly implied here is that radical Islam has a source on one or both of the congressional intel committees and that Obama’s people know it. Otherwise how can this distrust of the most sensitive committee people in Congress be explained.Rather than out and arrest that source Obama has protected him/her for purposes unknown but not out of line with this admin’s beliefs.

xkaydet65 on June 5, 2014 at 2:48 PM

Its also worth pointing out that the Taliban had no reason to keep this a secret. Negotiating with the US to get their people back could only help their image.

Mahna Mahna on June 5, 2014 at 2:49 PM

Keep digging, O. You’ll get to the bottom of the hole soon, I promise.

Midas on June 5, 2014 at 2:50 PM

Congress not told of swap because Taliban threatened to kill Bergdahl if it leaked .

What a great solution that would have been!Deliberately leak it with the greatest possible publicity. No Bergdahl and the five animals are still caged. But would we have to pay the Taliban for executing our traitor?

MaiDee on June 5, 2014 at 2:50 PM

Obama’s clearly a master negotiator. I wonder if this began as a 1-to-1 swap, but the pres played hardball and held out for 5.

ROCnPhilly on June 5, 2014 at 2:44 PM

LOL

“Please, take this prisoner in exchange for our deserter.”

“No.”

“Um, how about TWO prisoners in exchange for our one deserter.”

“No. We like him, he makes an excellent lasanga, so cheesy, and the sauce, so tangy.”

“Um, how about THREE prisoners…”

“No. This one is very pretty on Friday’s once we apply lipstick and douse him with goat pee to make him smell prettier. He’s very popular with the goatherds that have been in the mountains for a very long time.”

“Damn, well, how about FOUR prisoners…”

etc.

Midas on June 5, 2014 at 3:03 PM

FBI Investigated Michael Hastings’ Reporting About Bowe Bergdahl

Resist We Much on June 5, 2014 at 3:03 PM

RWM:

America’s Last Prisoner of War

By Michael Hastings
June 7, 2012 8:00 AM ET

Three years ago, a 23-year-old soldier walked off his base in Afghanistan and into the hands of the Taliban. Now he’s a crucial pawn in negotiations to end the war. Will the Pentagon leave a man behind?

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/americas-last-prisoner-of-war-20120607

canopfor on June 5, 2014 at 3:10 PM

Midas on June 5, 2014 at 3:03 PM

ROFL

GWB on June 5, 2014 at 3:11 PM

Every day this Administrations comes up with another solid candidate for Lie of the Year 2014

shanimal on June 5, 2014 at 3:24 PM

This means that the enemy side in this war is willing to join in a lie with Obama for the purpose of protecting Obama. Or at least the Obama people feel pretty confident that the Taliban will go along with it.

Buddahpundit on June 5, 2014 at 3:42 PM

One must double down on stupid…

sorrowen on June 5, 2014 at 3:44 PM

Boy, Barack is gonna be pissed when he reads his news paper when he gets back from his European vacation. No one will be angrier than him…but make no mistake…he’ll get to the bottom of it, find out those responsible and hold them to account so that this never happens again…

bimmcorp on June 5, 2014 at 3:59 PM

Obama has no problem defying Congress and the will of the American people.

But he shrinks in fear at threats from the Taliban.

Leadership!

s1im on June 5, 2014 at 1:52 PM

This should be blaring from every newspaper front page in America.
…it won’t, of course, but it should be.

Sterling Holobyte on June 5, 2014 at 4:08 PM

The only thing left for Obama to do is give him the Medal of Honor…

PatriotRider on June 5, 2014 at 2:08 PM

Or maybe put in a good word for him for a Nobel Prize. I hear they are giving them away like candy lately.

Sterling Holobyte on June 5, 2014 at 4:10 PM

The Taliban Offered To Trade Bergdahl Within 48 Hours Of His ‘Disappearance’

Resist We Much on June 5, 2014 at 3:50 PM

I’m liking my scenario more and more……. I mean, would *you* want some OWSer living with you in the Kush?

GWB on June 5, 2014 at 4:22 PM

Neat! That looks like my dog in the top pic!

Sherman1864 on June 5, 2014 at 5:04 PM

im not defending it..just pointing out that it probably falls far short of treason.

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on June 5, 2014 at 2:21 PM

http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Aid+and+comfort

Aid and Comfort

To render assistance or counsel. Any act that deliberately strengthens or tends to strengthen enemies of the United States, or that weakens or tends to weaken the power of the United States to resist and attack such enemies is characterized as aid and comfort.

Article 3, section 3, clause 1 of the U.S. Constitution specifies that the giving of aid and comfort to the enemy is an element in the crime of Treason. Aid and comfort may consist of substantial assistance or the mere attempt to provide some support; actual help or the success of the enterprise is not relevant.

But that’s just the legal dictionary definition…what do they know, right?

Now is your argument this deal (including violating Federal law at the request of a terrorist group, much less freeing 5 of their leaders while violating the law) does NOT fit this definition?

Or do you have a better sourced definition for defense of this NOT being treason?

Sorry, but since I’m going to source my research I’m going to have to ask you to source any legal response you’d care to give. Not just your opinion… just to keep things even.

gekkobear on June 5, 2014 at 6:33 PM

Hang him!

mixplix on June 5, 2014 at 7:58 PM

Note to the Liar-in-Chief: When you’re up to your armpits in bullshit…….STOP DIGGING!

GarandFan on June 5, 2014 at 8:12 PM

The president also uses the excuse that we never leave an American behind to explain why he sprung Bergdahl, but that flies in the face as he why four Americans were left to die without help in Benghazzi.

paulsur on June 5, 2014 at 8:21 PM

The WH’s new claim that the Taliban threatened to kill Bergdahl if this deal was leaked is pure unadulterated BULLSHI’!TE!

Obama proposed this same deal 3-4 years ago….and was DENIED / NOT allowed! As reported now the Taliban supposedly proposed this deal IN A 2013 1P INTERVIEW….so why would they be claiming a year later, “If this leaks out we will kill Bergdahl’?!

Obama is grasping for straws to try to justify his BREAKING THE LAW…and TREASON by aiding and abetting the enemy…AGAIN!

easyt65 on June 6, 2014 at 8:35 AM

“We never leave a man behind”?! Again, what B$!
Obama/Hillary hired an AL QAEDA-ASSOCIATED MILITIA to protect Ambassador Stevens and Americans in Benghazi. After 2 previous attacks – when other countries like the UK had already pulled their people out of Benghazi, Obama/Hillary DENIED their requests for additional security.

We already KNOW that within the 1st hour the terrorist attack began in Benghazi, Obama and Hillary were notified a terrorist attack was happening. The attack lasted for 12 (TWELVE) hours. SpecOps commanders and troops 5-6 hours away declared they should have been sent in for no other reason but to SECURE THE BODIES so they would not be dragged down the street…the way Ambassador Stevens’ body was. Whoever the incompetent, military-ignorant advisors Obama was listening to decided the attack would be a short event and that our troops would never get their in time. Again, the attack lasted for TWELVE HOURS! One of the Americans fighting off the terrorists positioned himself on top of the main Compound roof and was LASING the mortar pits attacking the compound. ANYONE who knows anything about the military / SpecOps knows the only reason, while being attacked, you Laze a target is because you fully expect a strike/combat aircraft capable of seeing/using it and striking the target is coming/inbound. He expected the AC-130 Gun Ship in that AOR would be on the way. He knew his only hope he had was that help was coming…and he did not doubt that help would be coming…because America does not just ABANDON their own, especially in combat…BUTH TAT IS EXACTLY WHAT OBAMA AND HILLARY DID. He DIED WONDERING WHERE THE H@LL THE RESCUE FORCES WERE….WHAT WAS TAKING THEM SO LONG…WHY WEREN’T THEY COMING.

NOW, trying to get himself out of trouble for BREAKING THE LAW and TREASON – AIDING AND ABETTING THE ENEMY, Obama has the GALL to use that term – that PROMISE: ‘Never leave a man behind’?! What a PO$!

easyt65 on June 6, 2014 at 8:52 AM

‘Never leave a man behind’….but it sertainly is OK to throw them under the proverbial political ‘BUS’, though, isn’t it, Obama?

Ambassador “It was all about a video” Rice went on the talk show circuit again to lie, this time, about how Bergdahl served his country with such HONOR. When his own fellow troops began talking about him, how he was a deserter, and setting the record straight, Obama and his political ‘CYA’ squad immediately began calling them LIARS…because Obama would know much better than the guys who served with Bergdahl what the guy was like and did.

Obama was forced to promote a deserter, traitor, & Islamic Extremist convert to protect his own @$$…and because they have so much in common!

easyt65 on June 6, 2014 at 8:57 AM

Man,

Are they stepping in it and trying to turn poop into wine?

Sheesh.

ProfShadow on June 6, 2014 at 9:06 AM

“Many people say they belong to the church,” but in reality have “only one foot inside,” the pope said June 5 at the morning Mass in the chapel of his residence.

“For these people, the church is not home,” but is a place they use as a rental property, he said, according to Vatican Radio.

J_Crater on June 6, 2014 at 9:10 AM

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