Rice: 30 day notification requirement was too long, so … we ignored it altogether

posted at 12:01 pm on June 6, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

Of all the missteps made by the Obama administration in the swap of five high-ranking Taliban officials (including two wanted by the UN for mass murders) for Bowe Bergdahl, the two worst were ignoring the law requiring Congressional notification … and sending Susan Rice to a Sunday talk show. By that time, questions had already begun percolating about Bergdahl’s record, which is why George Stephanopoulos challenged Rice about the trade in the context of that record, and Rice inexplicably responded that Bergdahl had been “captured on the battlefield” and had served with “honor and distinction,” two claims that fell apart quickly, and made it appear that the White House had set up a false narrative in order to justify the trade. That prompted Bergdahl’s former unit members to speak out, and the White House has been on defense ever since.

CNN’s Jim Acosta caught up with Rice in Normandy earlier today, and asked her to, er, clarify her earlier remarks. Rice claimed that she meant that Bergdahl’s enlistment was honorable and distinctive, or something:

 President Barack Obama’s national security adviser said Friday that her full-throated praise ofArmy Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was appropriate given the former Taliban prisoner’s willingness to go to war for his country — despite questions about whether or not he deserted his Army colleagues.

Susan Rice, who on Sunday said Bergdahl served the United States with “honor and distinction,” told CNN in an interview that she was speaking about the fact the Idaho native enlisted and went to Afghanistan in the service of his country.

“I realize there has been lots of discussion and controversy around this,” Rice said. “But what I was referring to was the fact that this was a young man who volunteered to serve his country in uniform at a time of war. That, in and of itself, is a very honorable thing.”

Of course it is. That’s why Stephanopoulos didn’t frame his question in that context, because no one disputes that enlistment in the armed services is honorable in and of itself. Stephanopoulos framed the question thusly:

Q: There are a lot of questions about how he originally was captured, and whether or not he’d deserted and left his post. Is that going to be investigated, and if it’s found that he did indeed leave his post, will he be disciplined, or has he already paid the price?

A: Certainly anybody who’s been held in those conditions, in captivity for five years, has paid an extraordinary price. But that is really not the point. The point is that he’s back. He is going to be safely reunited with his family. He served the United States with honor and distinction.

That is a non-sequitur walkback to a silly and careless claim, one that did a great deal of damage to the administration. One has to wonder what value Rice has as a national-security adviser when her top two contributions to the Obama administration has been to pour gasoline on a fire — and in this case, it’s all her fault.

She doesn’t get any better when trying to explain why the Obama administration never notified Congress. Despite getting two openings to confirm the latest spin that they ignored the law because of the supposed threat to Bergdahl if the deal went public, Rice instead says that the 30-day notification was too long a time frame — so they just ignored it altogether:

We had reason to be concerned about his life, but we also had reason to be concerned that the 30-day period that would normally be honored was too long, that had we waited that long we may have well missed what General Dempsey has called “the last, best opportunity” to bring him back.

Wait, what? The administration could have notified Congress of this deal any time before the deal took place, and explained that it developed too fast to make the 30-day cutoff — which, if you parse Rice’s statement closely, she isn’t actually claiming anyway. If that’s the case, then give two weeks’ notice, or one week, or whatever the timeframe is, noting the exigent circumstances. They had enough lead time to make sure the Bergdahls showed up in the Rose Garden for the big speech and photo op on Saturday, but didn’t bother formally notifying the relevant Congressional leadership until that day or later — more than 48 hours later for Dianne Feinstein and Mike Rogers, who chair the intel committees.

So it wasn’t about Bergdahl’s declining health, or Taliban death threats, or a need for instantaneous exchange (which would be an impossibility anyway). Rice’s statement confirms that they didn’t notify Congress because they just didn’t much feel like it.

Why does the White House have her doing interviews?

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The line at the bank was too long, so I ignored it altogether and just grabbed the money that I needed.

Why doesn’t that logic seem like it would get a bank robber off the hook? Which laws are us peons allowed to ignore or overlook with impunity, and still not go to jail? I’m tired of the royal government fusking us over.

Wino on June 7, 2014 at 1:53 AM

The health thing is a complete dodge. Reporters need to ask what doctors or medical experts viewed the videos and expressed the opinion his health was in imminent danger.

NONE, because they didn’t show it to any, because that wasn’t a factor.

Another lie is that the Taliban said he’d be killed if the deal leaked.

WHY would they care about leaks? Especially since he was held by Haqqani Network guys for ransom. They got their payday – who paid it?

Adjoran on June 7, 2014 at 2:41 AM

The Lawless Class: it’s what’s for dinner.

Eat hearty.

Sherman1864 on June 7, 2014 at 5:28 AM

what is wrong with this woman? Why is the admin ruining this poor person. No one believes anything says. I have never seen so many world class mistakes ,false steps and flouting of the law. All who cover for this pos community organizer should be fired toda.

scboy on June 7, 2014 at 7:16 AM

what is wrong with this woman? Why is the admin ruining this poor person. No one believes anything says. I have never seen so many world class mistakes ,false steps and flouting of the law. All who cover for this pos community organizer should be fired toda.

scboy on June 7, 2014 at 7:16 AM

Don’t feel sorry for her. She has no integrity and she ain’t afraid to show it. As a matter of fact, she’s proud to parade it, in yo face.

No decency, no respect, no integrity. Typical Obama Acolyte.

Key West Reader on June 7, 2014 at 7:35 AM

Libs will concoct any story to get the support they need to gain the upper hand in any scandal. Further, Staffers such as Nat. Security Adviser is not qualified for the position and should be impeached with the President.

MSGTAS on June 7, 2014 at 9:45 AM

Sending Rice out for the Sunday talk was another jab joke in our faces from the regime. Someone in the WH has a perverse sense of humor. It can’t be that they think we’ll believe any thing out of Rice’s mouth, can it.

Kissmygrits on June 7, 2014 at 9:51 AM

Who’s the guy with the hair in the top pic??

Sherman1864 on June 7, 2014 at 10:23 AM

Not only is she a liar. She sucks at it.

K. Hobbit on June 7, 2014 at 10:24 AM

I have come to hate the Obama admin and everyone who is part of it and enables it.

It’s that bad.

Sherman1864 on June 7, 2014 at 10:24 AM

Didn’t read all of the previous comments, so if it’s been mentioned before, I apologize, but… by Susan Rice’s standards, does that mean that Nidal Hasan also served the Army “with honor and distinction”?

KansasNavyDad on June 7, 2014 at 2:08 PM

I think Susan Rice just got the “DIS” wrong:

Rice said “Honor and Distinction”

She really meant, “Dishonor and Tinction*”

* Tinction: the act or process of staining.

jedifinance on June 7, 2014 at 7:21 PM

I have noticed that no one seems to be mentioning the fact that the Taliban did not actually have Bergdahl during his time of desertion.

He was a prisoner of another group of Islamic terrorist radicals who are quiet well known for their use of prisoners to arrange ransoms. Not likely that they would kill him especially when they know Obama wants him back.

What was his illness? I have not read anything that indicates a specific reason other than in a video he looked ill, or drugged, or could simply upset that he is being sold off like a goat for a few old camels. Looking at the same video and stills, he does not appear to be seriously ill.

The Obama administration were the negotiating party. The Qatar were the negotiators for all parties. Obama was just the guy with his hat in hand at the table and quiet possibly a bag of money.

If there was money in the deal, then yes, the 30 day requirement might have been a serious problem.

Its also interesting in that the Taliban did not turn over Bergdahl until five days after the Gitmo 5 were released. Lots of reasons why it might take five days to get him from someplace like Pakistan and arrange that little we own you exchange spot.

However that means the 5 had already been moved from Getmo to Qatar at least five days earlier without telling Congress about the deal Obama had already completed. If you estimate the time it took to arrange the deal, set up the exchange before Bergdahl was actually released, you have probably reached at least 15 days or more that the deal was being done without Congress being notified.

It quiet possible that Bergdahl was just a pawn to move in a game to get the five out of Gitmo. It possible that Obama was planning it at some point later, another Bin Laden moment as they sort of started to claim. But with the VA and Benghazi scandals, he needed a quick diversion, which interestingly enough, 30 days was too long to wait, so they would just have to do it.

Franklyn on June 7, 2014 at 7:35 PM

And we know of course scumbag hypocrites Rice and her boss would have treated someone from the GOP the same way they did this traitor, right?! Typical Dems doing it for $ sex and power but ultimately getting none of them.

russedav on June 8, 2014 at 4:18 AM