House Dem: That the White House didn’t notify Congress of Bergdahl deal “did not sit well”

posted at 9:01 pm on June 9, 2014 by Erika Johnsen

Rep. Adam Schiff, a California Democrat and a member of the House Intelligence Committee, didn’t have much to say in defense of the White House’s highly selective Bergdahl-deal maneuvering this evening. As CNN’s Ashleigh Banfield notes, “80 to 90″ administration officials across various agencies knew about the deal beforehand, and regardless of whether or not the administration had the legal authority to proceed without notifying Congress, Schiff notes that they would have done themselves a world of at least PR-related favors if they had asked for Congress’s input. Via the Free Beacon:

It didn’t sit very well with those of us who were sitting at the briefing. Look, I think the president had the constitutional authority under Article Two to make this decision without consulting with Congress, but I think it would have been wiser, far wiser, for the administration to have notified, certainly, the leadership of Congress in the interest of having good relations and comity with a co-equal branch of government, so they should have done it. It was a mistake that they didn’t, and the fact that there were so many people within the know in the administration doesn’t help their case. One other fact I’ll raise is that most of the leaks that have taken place have come from the administration and not from Congress, so they really should have brought at least the leadership within their confidence, and I think that was a mistake.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

You know what also doesn’t sit well. That we got now hundreds of thousands of illegal children just pouring across the border, and Eric Cantor’s response? Offer them amnesty!

anotherJoe on June 9, 2014 at 9:08 PM

Rep. Adam Schiff, a California Democrat and a member of the House Intelligence Committee

is a lunatic and a nut job. I’m surprised he got this right. He’s usually “all Øbama all the time.”

ExpressoBold on June 9, 2014 at 9:09 PM

funny, I would have thought that Obama committing treason would be what didn’t sit well.

oscarwilde on June 9, 2014 at 9:10 PM

It’s a law that he has to contact the intelligence committee not a suggestion.

crankyoldlady on June 9, 2014 at 9:11 PM

When you lose Adam Shill…

Bishop??

bimmcorp on June 9, 2014 at 9:11 PM

What’s this about Obama now claiming that Hagel made the final call on Bergdahl?

myiq2xu on June 9, 2014 at 9:11 PM

Have you figured out he’s not that into you? He’s got a phone and a pen. You are extraneous.

CJ on June 9, 2014 at 9:11 PM

Ashley Banfield still has a job??? Who knew??

Way late on the Bishop claim, too… Oh well…

bimmcorp on June 9, 2014 at 9:13 PM

What’s this about Obama now claiming that Hagel made the final call on Bergdahl?

myiq2xu on June 9, 2014 at 9:11 PM

That racist, Barack Obama threw the white dude under his bus, that’s what…

bimmcorp on June 9, 2014 at 9:15 PM

You know what also doesn’t sit well. That we got now hundreds of thousands of illegal children just pouring across the border, and Eric Cantor’s response? Offer them amnesty!

anotherJoe on June 9, 2014 at 9:08 PM

Megan Kelly opens her show with the southern border issues. She had a film maker who is gong there now to cover the story.. He says this is just the very tip of the iceberg to what is coming.

esr1951 on June 9, 2014 at 9:15 PM

esr1951 on June 9, 2014 at 9:15 PM

We’re doomed.

bernzright777 on June 9, 2014 at 9:19 PM

esr1951 on June 9, 2014 at 9:15 PM

and she also said….most underreported story. I agree with the filmmaker…it’s only what is known so far. Border Patrol doesn’t catch 2/3rds of the numbers coming across that border.

CoffeeLover on June 9, 2014 at 9:20 PM

Guess what, Maryland’s Dems, don’t want a bunch of illegal children in their state.

Cindy Munford on June 9, 2014 at 9:21 PM

What’s this about Obama now claiming that Hagel made the final call on Bergdahl?

myiq2xu on June 9, 2014 at 9:11 PM

Just a twitter feed:

https://mobile.twitter.com/OutFrontCNN/status/476145559129300992

esr1951 on June 9, 2014 at 9:21 PM

RACIST!!!!!!!

R-A-C-I-S-T!!!!

The guy is a donk so 90/10 chance he really is a racist.

jukin3 on June 9, 2014 at 9:21 PM

What’s this about Obama now claiming that Hagel made the final call on Bergdahl?

myiq2xu on June 9, 2014 at 9:11 PM

“Once again, I vote, ‘Present’.” -the preezy.

non-nonpartisan on June 9, 2014 at 9:23 PM

myiq2xu on June 9, 2014 at 9:11 PM

This is why you find the dumbest “Republican” left on earth and make him Sec. of Defense.

Cindy Munford on June 9, 2014 at 9:25 PM

Hey Schiff, I cannot speak for Key West Reader, but I can
speak for myself.

Eat Sh*t and DIE!!

ToddPA on June 9, 2014 at 9:26 PM

OT- 811 of them in Nogales AZ so far. More buses came today.

But of course I have to go OT, because there aren’t any threads about it.

(sorry Erika,, not directed at you)

wolly4321 on June 9, 2014 at 9:27 PM

Just a twitter feed:

https://mobile.twitter.com/OutFrontCNN/status/476145559129300992

esr1951 on June 9, 2014 at 9:21 PM

Where do his devotees get off calling Obama a leader? lol

non-nonpartisan on June 9, 2014 at 9:28 PM

and I think that was a mistake

Mistakes have consequences. What’s your plan?

BobMbx on June 9, 2014 at 9:28 PM

Did not “SIT” well?!!!

“The fact that we were duct-taped together naked in a group and repeatedly R@##ed did not “sit” well……but, after all, it is The President’s prerogative………”

*Media stares unemotionally and Nods Quietly In Agreement*

williamg on June 9, 2014 at 9:30 PM

Chad Pergram @ChadPergram · 5h

Sen Ted Cruz (R-TX) calling on 6 month freeze on any Gitmo detainee transfers via legislation he is introducing.

canopfor on June 9, 2014 at 9:33 PM

This is why you find the dumbest “Republican” left on earth and make him Sec. of Defense.

Cindy Munford on June 9, 2014 at 9:25 PM

Hagel never WAS and NEVER WILL BE a “Republican”…….neither is Morning Hole…….

They are BOTH Liberal Democrats…..

Putting an “R” after your name does NOT make you a “Republican”…….

williamg on June 9, 2014 at 9:33 PM

Two to make this decision without consulting with Congress, but I think it would have been wiser, far wiser, for the administration to have notified, certainly, the leadership of Congress in the interest of having good relations and comity with a co-equal branch of government, so they should have done it. It was a mistake that they didn’t

Wrong!!!

It was a high crime. The National Defense Authorization Act of 2014 requires the administration to notify Congress at least 30 days before releasing a prisoner from Guantanamo.

Too bad you’re not another worthless U.S. Congresscritter or you might have known that. Oh, wait …

ShainS on June 9, 2014 at 9:34 PM


https://twitter.com/ChadPergram

Chad Pergram @ChadPergram · 2h

Armed Svcs Chair McKeon: We’re happy Sgt #Bergdahl has been returned. We ought to look at the price. We had a policy of not negotiating.

Replied to 0 times

Chad Pergram @ChadPergram · 2h

McKeon: If they are so concerned about a leak, they ought to know who they told out it. This is pretty disturbing on many levels. #Bergdahl

Replied to 0 times

Chad Pergram @ChadPergram · 2h

Armed Svcs Cmte Chair McKeon: I’m concerned with the admin telling 80-90 ppl in admin & not 1 mbr of Congress. That’s not following the law.

Chad Pergram @ChadPergram · 2h

Rep Pittenger says there was “tremendous push-back from both sides” & mbrs “were very offended” admin didn’t tell Congress about swap

Chad Pergram @ChadPergram · 3h

Schakowsky: I’m mystified & disgusted there has been a demonization of the soldier..for doing what’s in the tradition of the USA #Bergdahl

Replied to 0 times

Chad Pergram @ChadPergram · 3h

One mbr leaving House classified #Bergdahl brfng says “I could have taken my phone in there.” Says nothing discussed was anything new.

Replied to 0 times

Chad Pergram @ChadPergram · 3h

Bachmann on #Berdahl brfg: They made it clear there were 80-90 ppl who knew ahead of time abt the release. None were Members of Congress.

Replied to 0 times

Chad Pergram @ChadPergram · 3h

Bachmann on Hse classified brfg on #Bergdahl: They gave us no classified info. Should have opened up to public.

Replied to 0 times

Chad Pergram @ChadPergram · 4h

Reid says Congress has “a duty” to pass a bill “that helps prevent deranged individuals from carrying out such savage acts”

Replied to 0 times

Chad Pergram @ChadPergram · 4h

Full House classified briefing on #Bergdahl prisoner swap starting now.

canopfor on June 9, 2014 at 9:37 PM

williamg on June 9, 2014 at 9:33 PM

Deep in your heart aren’t you positive that Hagel just wandered around the Capital trying to figure out where he was and where he was suppose to be? I’m being slow….Morning Hole?

Cindy Munford on June 9, 2014 at 9:38 PM

OT- 811 of them in Nogales AZ so far. More buses came today.

But of course I have to go OT, because there aren’t any threads about it.

(sorry Erika,, not directed at you)

wolly4321 on June 9, 2014 at 9:27 PM

Probably they’ve been not covering it all day because they plan to make the surprise QOTD!

anotherJoe on June 9, 2014 at 9:38 PM

.Morning Hole?

Cindy Munford on June 9, 2014 at 9:38 PM

He may mean Mika.

Judge_Dredd on June 9, 2014 at 9:43 PM

guess what, Maryland’s Dems, don’t want a bunch of illegal children in their state. Cindy Munford on June 9, 2014 at 9:21 PM

They’re a little late. When I went back last year I felt like I was in Mexico. Imagine that.

I fly from AZ back to my former home State, and get that impression.

wolly4321 on June 9, 2014 at 9:43 PM

It didn’t sit very well with those of us who were sitting at the briefing. Look, I think the president had the constitutional authority under Article Two to make this decision without consulting with Congress

Article I, Section 8:

The Congress shall have Power…

To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations;

To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

Resist We Much on June 9, 2014 at 9:44 PM

Seems like Rep. Schiff has not been clued in on the new order of things in DC. The Barry Admin is not interested in what you think, sonnie. In fact, they will tell YOU what to think, about anything, when they think you’re important enough to have your own opinion.

dissent555 on June 9, 2014 at 9:47 PM

Flawlessness.

Bmore on June 9, 2014 at 9:47 PM

Breaking news from the non-Bergdahl obsessed Possum Holler News Bureau…..

INVASION OF U.S. still ongoing.

Paul Ryan and the rest of the top leadership still thrilled about the CLOWARD PIVEN strategy the Administration is employing to collapse the U.S. border.

http://www.humanevents.com/2014/06/09/cloward-piven-at-the-border/

Back in the Sixties, Marxists Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven came up with a great strategy for overloading and collapsing democratic welfare states, paving the way for socialist tyranny. Basically, the idea was to hit the system with a tidal wave of demands it couldn’t refuse, and couldn’t possibly fulfill. The Left would then insist that the moral argument for the system remained intact, so the only way to meet those impossible demands was to scrap every vestige of Constitutional restraint and republican self-government, instituting a totalitarian system that in theory would forcibly restructure society to promote “fairness” and give all those government dependents what they “deserve.” (In practice, of course, what you actually get is an iron-fisted dictatorship that cooks up reports to make itself look good, or simply tells the unhappy citizens to shut up and obey when things deteriorate to the point that no volume of phony reports can paper over the problems – say, when the glorious worker’s paradise of Venezuela runs out of tap water.)

Cloward and Piven were specifically interested in replacing welfare programs with a government-guaranteed annual income for everyone – an idea that still emerges from the more absurd quarters of the Left occasionally – but the basic idea of overloading the republican system and replacing it with centrally-planned tyranny can be applied in many different ways. Take a look at the humanitarian crisis on the southern border, which I wrote about two weeks ago. It has since burst onto the front pages with some astonishing stories, including leaked photos of illegal alien children – many of them 12 years old and younger – “warehoused” in overcrowded facilities, where there are growing concerns about sanitation and disease. CBS News in Houston writes of unaccompanied minors sleeping on plastic boards in a Nogales, Arizona warehouse after being flown in from south Texas. According to some estimates, there are nearly a thousand children in that warehouse now.

There’s nothing complicated about what is happening here. Barack Obama invited these people to send their children to the United States as refugees. He’s already made illegal use of executive orders to gut the immigration system; he’s talking about doing it again, and the people of South and Central America can hear him just fine. There have been anecdotal reports of a message being spread throughout Central American countries, by everything from word-of-mouth gossip to news media: “Go to America with your child, you won’t be turned away.” (It will come as no surprise to learn that the Mexican government is not doing much to halt the train of amnesty-seekers headed for American soil. On the contrary, corrupt Mexican officials are trying to get a cut of the profits from the refugee-smuggling trade.)

And the gop leadership ENDORSES THIS TREASON……Bravo Boehner, Bushes, and all you republicans in the worthless Congress.

PappyD61 on June 9, 2014 at 9:49 PM

Judge_Dredd on June 9, 2014 at 9:43 PM

LOL! Scarborough! Of course.

Cindy Munford on June 9, 2014 at 9:51 PM

It didn’t sit very well with those of us who were sitting at the briefing. Look, I think the president had the constitutional authority under Article Two to make this decision without consulting with Congress

Article I, Section 8:

The Congress shall have Power…

To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations;

To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

Resist We Much on June 9, 2014 at 9:44 PM

You know that that Constitution thing was written by old dead white slave owners, right? It’s not like it is still the law or anything.

Article 3, Section 3, Clauses 1 and 2

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.

The Congress shall have power to declare the punishment of treason, but no attainder of treason shall work corruption of blood, or forfeiture except during the life of the person attainted.

oscarwilde on June 9, 2014 at 9:52 PM

wolly4321 on June 9, 2014 at 9:43 PM

She seems to think this current crop should stay in the red states.

Cindy Munford on June 9, 2014 at 9:53 PM

Cindy Munford on June 9, 2014 at 9:38 PM

……..”Morning Joe”……..you can put whatever letters you feel are appropriate in front of the “H”….

williamg on June 9, 2014 at 10:03 PM

Marie Harf
Deputy Spokesperson
Daily Press Briefing
Washington, DC
June 9, 2014

QUESTION: Going back to Gitmo detainees – I promise I’m not trying to give you whiplash or anything, but –

MS. HARF: It’s okay. It’s just another day in the briefing room. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Over the past week, and especially this weekend, both Senators Saxby Chambliss and Diane Feinstein have quoted a letter from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2012, in which she promised – and I’ll quote it. She said, “I want to make it clear that any transfer from Guantanamo Bay will be undertaken after consultation with Congress and pursuant to all legal requirements for transfers, including those spelled out in Fiscal Year 2012 Defense Authorization Act,” which, of course, states that Congress must be given 30 days’ notice.

Did the Obama Administration renege on this promise?

MS. HARF: Well, first of all, I’d make a few points. We’ve been very clear about why we did not believe, for operational security reasons and the life and safety of Sergeant Bergdahl, we could give advance notice that could risk getting into the public domain. I have been very clear about that, that we were concerned about possibly someone holding Sergeant Bergdahl if they found out about this, could take action against him. As we’ve seen now over the past few days, he was held by ruthless people in very difficult conditions. So I think there was a very clear reason why we did not give notification.

I would also point out that the architecture of this deal – who the five were, where they would go, and what we would get in return – was fully briefed to Congress, and quite frankly, made very public in a number of news outlets. So the details of this was not a secret or a surprise to anyone on the Hill, to many people in the public. They knew what the architecture was, and that’s what we ended up going with.

And my final point would be that, look, we – this decision to release these five – to transfer these five to Qatar had to be signed off on by the entire national security team – the current Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, the head of the Office of Director of National Intelligence, people that will not do anything that would adversely affect our national security in any way.

Anything else?

QUESTION: That’s it.

MS. HARF: Great. Thanks, guys.

(The briefing was concluded at 2:44 p.m.)

DPB # 101

http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2014/06/227322.htm

canopfor on June 9, 2014 at 10:05 PM

Mukulski was always a tool. She assumed office when I was 9 years old. I’m 46, now.

wolly4321 on June 9, 2014 at 10:08 PM

williamg on June 9, 2014 at 10:03 PM

I can think of three. Judge _Dredd helped me break the code.

Cindy Munford on June 9, 2014 at 10:09 PM

……..”Morning Joe”……..you can put whatever letters you feel are appropriate in front of the “H”….

williamg on June 9, 2014 at 10:03 PM

Does that mean it’s ok to refer to Mika as the Morning trollop?

oscarwilde on June 9, 2014 at 10:11 PM

Marie Harf
Deputy Spokesperson
Daily Press Briefing
Washington, DC
June 9, 2014
=============

Yes, Lucas.

QUESTION: Gitmo?

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Have any new countries come forward and offered to take Gitmo detainees since the Qatar transfer?

MS. HARF: Well, we’ve been working with a range of countries, of third countries, to transfer detainees there, many of which we don’t talk about publicly because these are obviously very sensitive diplomatic discussions. I’m happy to see if there are any new that have emerged in the last few days, but suffice to say, we are working with a very large number of countries who could potentially take some of these remaining detainees.

QUESTION: And can you put to rest the allegation that a cash ransom was paid for these Guantanamo Bay detainees?

MS. HARF: Was paid for them?

QUESTION: Mm-hmm.

MS. HARF: To us?

QUESTION: We paid Qatar, Qatar paid us, Qatar paid the Haqqani Network – because Catherine Herridge is reporting that the Haqqani Network never does a deal unless cash is involved.

MS. HARF: I have not heard anything about cash. I am happy to check.

QUESTION: Okay. And –

MS. HARF: I have not, though.

QUESTION: — finally –

QUESTION: Yes, regarding –

QUESTION: (Off-mike) check?

QUESTION: But this –

MS. HARF: Yeah. I didn’t write a check.

QUESTION: This pushback on Capitol Hill among Democrats, Republicans about the swap of Taliban detainees, has that blown up any remaining goodwill for future detainee transfers in the future?

MS. HARF: Well, I think we’ve been very clear about the fact that we don’t want the political controversy that’s come out of this swap to in any way impact our efforts to close Guantanamo Bay, because it’s the right thing to do – including people like former President George W. Bush have said it’s the right thing to do. So we continue working with other countries to find places where we can transfer detainees – the group of them that have been cleared for transfer. We are working on how we can prosecute those that have been identified for prosecution.

And I think an important point to remember on the transfer issue is we put in place in this Administration much more stringent rules than the previous administration for the standards we had to meet for sufficiently mitigating the risk to American national security. And the recidivism rates – there’s been some confusion out there. Under this Administration, under our rules, those confirmed of re-engaging is 6 percent. Under the previous, it was 18.6. So those numbers sometimes get conflated, but it’s important to remember that under the rules we’re operating under – the ones we released those five under to Qatar – we have put in place very stringent rules, and as Secretary Kerry said over the weekend – I’m sure many of you saw – we have ways to find them if they try to re-engage, and we have ways to bring them to justice if they do.

QUESTION: Given the current bipartisan attacks about transferring the detainees, does it make it harder to transfer more in the future?

MS. HARF: Look, we’re focused on closing Guantanamo Bay, doing it in a responsible manner, prosecuting those we can, transferring those we deem that we can as well. That’s what we’re focused on, because this is what we do. This is what we’ve said. We don’t hold people longer than we have to. We have always said that Guantanamo Bay hurts our national security. It is a propaganda tool for terrorists, and the quicker we can get it closed responsibly, we are going to continue working towards that goal. And I think a lot of members of Congress, even if they didn’t like this particular deal, would absolutely agree with that goal.

QUESTION: And –

QUESTION: How worried is this building about efforts in Congress to try to change the rules again regarding detainee transfers?

MS. HARF: I think that Congress has tried for a long time to change the rules when it comes to Guantanamo Bay, and to put it in place I would call very strict restrictions on this Administration because of our goal of closing it. So we will continue working with Congress; we think it’s important to do so. But I want to be crystal clear that the President and the Secretary and everybody in this Administration is committed to closing it. Again, not just because it’s the right thing to do – although, to be fair, it is – but because it hurts our national security every day that that prison is open.

And we have – that’s why we have said very clearly we will close it, but we’re going to do it responsibly. We’re going to put in place new standards. They’re stricter. They’re tougher. They prevent recidivism more than the previous administration did. We’re going to transfer people when we can and we’re going to prosecute them when we can. And we’re going to get it closed. And we’re going to figure out, as the President said at West Point, what this architecture of our counterterrorism operations looks like going forward. It’s not going to look like Guantanamo Bay, though, and it shouldn’t.

QUESTION: Secretary Hagel is going up to the Hill on Wednesday. Has there been any invitation extended to Secretary Kerry to talk about this building’s efforts to deal with detainee transfers?

MS. HARF: Not to my knowledge. I’m happy to check. As you may or may not know, there’s an interagency team briefing all members of – open to all members of the House in a classified session this evening at 5:30, mirroring the one we did with the Senate last week, and a representative from here will be there. I believe it’s Ambassador Dobbins.

QUESTION: Over the weekend, Secretary Kerry said, quote, “Our combat role in Afghanistan is over.”

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: If that’s the case, how can you reconcile that there’s 32,000 combat forces there today, 24 soldiers – American soldiers being killed in 2014, including two this month? Is Secretary Kerry getting ahead of himself?

MS. HARF: Not at all. I think the President was very clear when he came into office that we were going to put – we were going to lay down timetables for how we were going to end the war in Afghanistan. First step, as he did: undertake a review. Send more troops there. Surge troops there to try to do some of the things we should have been doing, quite frankly, when we were bogged down in Iraq. Then, after that, he laid down a plan for how we’re going to bring those troops home. And there are certain milestones on that. When our official combat role ends, when we transferred security to the Afghan – the lead for security to Afghan forces. And now we have in place a plan to bring home troops over a staggered timeframe. And I think what drove the President’s decision to choose this number over this timeframe was so we could keep troops there to train the Afghan security forces, to continue counterterrorism operations, to give them more time to step up and lead, as we saw them do on the election. And we will continue standing by them as we do.

But it’s important to remember that as we draw down our forces, it will increasingly force the Afghan forces to step up. And that’s part of what drives much of our decision making as well.

QUESTION: If we’re still taking casualties in Afghanistan because of direct action, not by accident –

MS. HARF: Doesn’t mean it’s not dangerous. Doesn’t mean it’s not incredibly dangerous.

QUESTION: But then our combat role in Afghanistan is not over.

MS. HARF: It’s a different role, right? Our role has evolved throughout the decade-plus we’ve been there, and right now we’re very much focused on training and counterterrorism. It doesn’t mean that people won’t – there won’t be casualties, unfortunately. But I think the fact that there are still casualties underscores why it’s imperative to do our job, finish what we need to do there, and then bring our kids home.

QUESTION: A few years ago, when we were engaged in combat in Afghanistan and the Taliban and other insurgent groups were attacking our soldiers, shooting our soldiers, and they were shooting back, and that’s clearly the case today. How has that changed? How is combat over?

MS. HARF: It’s a little different, Lucas. As we’ve always said, our role there is going to evolve. What we call it, what point in the operations we are, doesn’t, quite frankly, matter as much as the fact that we know that our men and women in uniform are still in harm’s way. We know they’re still in incredible danger. But we have set in place a timetable for winding down our role in this war because we believe that’s the best way to get the Afghans to stand up, to take even more control of their security – that’s why we’re training them; that’s what we’re training them to do – and that we will, at some point eventually, end the longest war in American history. This is up to the Afghans to pick their future.

QUESTION: What’s the U.S.’s plans for monitoring the runoff on Saturday?

MS. HARF: In terms of whether we’ll have monitors?

QUESTION: Right.

MS. HARF: Let me check. I’m not sure. It’s a good question, though.

QUESTION: And over the weekend, Secretary Kerry went to his grandfather’s home in the northern coast.

MS. HARF: Yes, he did, in France.

QUESTION: Did he take personal time off for that or is that official state business?

MS. HARF: I’m happy to check.

QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

MS. HARF: I know the whole team did not go, but I’m happy to check.

QUESTION: Very simple question. I mean, you talk about Taliban, and five of them were now exchange process. How many left in Guantanamo of Taliban people?

MS. HARF: How many detainees overall or how many –

QUESTION: No, no, how many Taliban detainees?

MS. HARF: I’m happy – I don’t know what the breakdown is. I’m sorry.

QUESTION: And the other question is regarding when this – you were talking about Pakistan, you mentioned Pakistani Taliban. How you differentiate between them?

MS. HARF: Well, obviously a lot of these groups are different groups, but work together very closely. So we have the Haqqani network. We have the TTP. We have the Afghan Taliban. Obviously, one – the Afghan Taliban –

QUESTION: (Off-mike) geographically, not ideologically?

MS. HARF: Geographically – well, not ideologically necessarily.

QUESTION: Like Hezbollah.

MS. HARF: Sort of like Hezbollah I guess. But geographically in some respects, also in terms of leadership structures; they both have their own leadership structures. Obviously they are very coordinated on many things, but on some things they’re not.

QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

QUESTION: Over the weekend, Secretary Kerry said it was, quote, “a lot of baloney” that Guantanamo detainees could return to the battlefield and kill Americans. Is that official State Department policy?

MS. HARF: I think it’s reflecting what I just said, that when we’re talking about the possibility of re-engagement or recidivism, it really is important that we know the facts here about what has happened and what hasn’t, and what we’ve put in place to prevent it from happening. And in a year these guys will have lived under the obligations of the Government of Qatar has assured us they will live under.

Look, is there a chance they will return to the battlefield? As Secretary Kerry said, of course. But we believe we substantially mitigated the risk enough. And look, these five – let’s say the worse-case scenario, these five guys do return. In no way would that substantially change the Taliban’s order of battle on the ground. That’s just not even logical. And as he said as well, we have many ways to keep tabs on these guys. It’s not like we just release them and close our eyes. We have many, many ways to. Of some of those folks in the previous administration that did re-engage, many of them were captured or killed.

QUESTION: It’s baloney to think that we could not catch or kill them?

MS. HARF: Absolutely. You know the talent the United States military has and how committed they are to protecting us from anyone who wants to do us harm. And I think nobody, including the Taliban, should have any hesitation to know that the United States military finds people who want to hurt the United States and take them off the battlefield.

QUESTION: Secretary Kerry was not referring to saying it’s baloney that these guys could go back and add a propaganda value to the Taliban or –

MS. HARF: I think I was very clear about what the Secretary was saying.

Yes, Scott.

QUESTION: Nigeria?

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Does the United States believe that there are members of the Nigerian military who are complicit in the Boko Haram campaign of terror?

MS. HARF: Well, I know there have been some media reports over the weekend about military officials being, I think, found guilty in a court martial. We’re aware of these reports. I’m not in a position to confirm them at this point. We’re still seeking more information, but again cannot confirm them at this point.

And overall, we maintain a level of military cooperation with the Nigerians in keeping with relevant human rights legislation and human rights concerns. So we’ve been very open at times about our concern about Nigeria’s human rights record. Obviously this is a key topic of conversation, especially when we’re talking about counterterrorism. But I don’t have any more details to corroborate any of those reports we’ve seen.

QUESTION: Okay. Regardless of these individual cases then, does the suggestion that there is complicity at different levels of the chain of command within the Nigerian military complicate that campaign against Boko Haram and/or U.S. support for – especially for the hunt for these girls?

MS. HARF: Well, not – I mean, for the hunt for these girls we’ve said we will do whatever it takes to help find them. But obviously, all of our counterterrorism cooperation needs to be put into a larger context. And where we’re concerned about human rights issues in the Nigerian Government or military, we take those very seriously. We’ve talked a lot about some of our congressional responsibilities when it comes to that issue.

So does it complicate it? Sure. When it comes to looking for these girls, we have said we will do whatever it takes.

QUESTION: Is it fair to say, though, that you are following these reports of potential court martial –

MS. HARF: We are, we are.

QUESTION: — that would factor into your –

MS. HARF: Absolutely. We just have nothing to confirm them yet, and we’re seeking more information.

QUESTION: Has there been any augmentation of the interagency staff that’s in Abuja to assist the Nigerians?

MS. HARF: Not to my knowledge. I’m happy to check and see, but not to my knowledge.

QUESTION: Marie, any updates on the status of the search for these girls?

MS. HARF: No.

QUESTION: It’s been nearly two months now.

MS. HARF: It has. No updates. As we’ve said in here, there are indications they may have been broken up into small groups, may have been taken to other countries. The search continues. The Nigerians are still in the lead. And tragically, no update yet.

QUESTION: How confident are you that you might be able to track them down?

MS. HARF: We’re certainly hopeful that we will, and we’re committed to putting resources to doing that.

QUESTION: And how long – have you any timeline on how long the U.S. involvement will remain in place?

MS. HARF: I don’t. But I think suffice to say we’re going to be there until we find these girls. I don’t have any more timeline for you.

Yes.

QUESTION: And the aerial surveillance continues?

MS. HARF: It’s my understanding everything continues as we’ve talked about.

Yes.

QUESTION: Just going back to Pakistan. Following the Taliban attack over the weekend, how concerned are you about the safety and security of Pakistan’s nukes, and has that come up in discussions with the Pakistani government over the past 24 hours?

MS. HARF: I don’t know if there have been discussions here with the Pakistani Government. I know there have been on the ground. I don’t know if it’s come up. I would guess it hasn’t. As we’ve said, we believe the Pakistani Government understands the importance of protecting all of its arsenal, including things related to its nuclear program. We know that they care about this a great deal and have no reason at this point to think it’s anything but safe.

QUESTION: Thank you.

QUESTION: Can I go to Ukraine?

MS. HARF: Yeah.

QUESTION: So President Poroshenko was sworn in over the weekend and he has laid out various statements about how he sees things going forward. There’s two sets of talks happening with the Russians today, one in Brussels on the gas, and they were trying to have some talks as well about the uprising in the east. And President Poroshenko has said that we must end the fighting by this week. How realistic do you believe that comment is?

MS. HARF: Well, we know the fighting needs to end soon. And we were encouraged that President Putin spoke with President Poroshenko in Normandy on Friday, that Russia returned its ambassador to Ukraine for its inauguration, and we would welcome President Putin’s comments that he will take action to secure the border between Russia and Ukraine more effectively to prevent the flow of armed fighters and weapons. And I think now we’re calling on Russia to follow up its words with actions.

So I think there’s a path forward here, we’ve always said there was, for de-escalation. We have congratulated President Poroshenko on his inauguration and welcome the commitments he’s made to increasingly work to secure his country, which has been under such brutal attack for way too long now.

QUESTION: Is it possible, though, to stop these brutal attacks in the east this week?

MS. HARF: President Putin called on the separatists, many of whom are being supported by the Russians, to do so. I think we could see significant progress.

QUESTION: You do think there – significant progress this week?

MS. HARF: I think we could.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MS. HARF: Let’s put our actions where our words are.

QUESTION: If the plan was to isolate President Putin, what was he doing at the G7 conference to begin with?

MS. HARF: Well, he was in Normandy for the 70th anniversary celebration of D-Day. You know the long history, particularly during World War II, we had working with Russia, and we believe this is a historical event that didn’t need to have politics in it. We’ve also been very clear that the G7 is the G7 and not the G8 right now.

QUESTION: And just quick follow-up on the Gitmo five –

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: — are – when you say there’s ways of tracking them, does that include any kind of embedded chips or tracking devices, GPS, anything like that?

MS. HARF: I’m not going to comment any way we have of keeping tabs on these guys. That would probably defeat the purpose.

QUESTION: Right. But you’re not denying that there are ways to monitor their whereabouts?

MS. HARF: Look, our intelligence community is the best in the world, and if we want to find people who want to do us harm, I guarantee you we’ll do it.

QUESTION: James Bond, James Bond.

QUESTION: Do they all have a drone following them? Everybody gets a drone? (Laughter.)

MS. HARF: What else?

QUESTION: It might be cheaper than detaining them.

MS. HARF: Well, I mean, no – in all seriousness, it costs so much money for these detainees – taxpayer money, all of your money – for these detainees to remain in Gitmo. I think it’s something like over $2 million for these guys compared to in the most super-max prison in the U.S. something in the hundreds of thousands. So I think that in addition to all the other moral reasons and legal reasons and other reasons to close Guantanamo Bay, from a purely practical taxpayer standpoint, absolutely.

http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2014/06/227322.htm

canopfor on June 9, 2014 at 10:15 PM

— Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, did you reach a verdict?
— What the defendant did did not sit well with us.
— Uhm, so?
— Bye.

PBH on June 9, 2014 at 10:19 PM

He’s just learning from Putin.

If all people are going to do in response to your illegal actions is complain about your actions, you can do whatever you want to do. Kind of like our immigration laws, or Obamacare “delays” or shutting down power plants …

Over50 on June 9, 2014 at 10:27 PM

Ms. Harf: Dude!

Question: Excuse me?

Ms. Harf: Like, you totally heard me. Stop asking such irrelevant questions. You know we said we would empty Gitmo and wrap up the war in a tidy bow, all while giving everyone free healthcare.

freedomfirst on June 9, 2014 at 10:36 PM

Ms. Harf: Oh, yeah…and fact pattern or something.

freedomfirst on June 9, 2014 at 10:38 PM

Obama’s decision not to inform congress was not a mistake. It was willful and deliberate.

Delsa on June 10, 2014 at 1:13 AM

Obama’s decision not to inform congress was not a mistake. It was willful and deliberate.

Delsa on June 10, 2014 at 1:13 AM

^^This.

JannyMae on June 10, 2014 at 2:10 AM

Call for his impeachment, dems, or STFU.

CurtZHP on June 10, 2014 at 7:17 AM

Dear Congressman:
Here is the bottom line. This administration does not trust Congress (either Party) and as long as he has a press who are fat and lazy, the administration will continue to pull these stunts off. A possible solution to this would be a vote censuring the administration, and to cut off funding of some of the executive monies. Only then will Congress start back on the road of respect.

tjmorrill on June 10, 2014 at 7:36 AM

A zebra somewhere is searching for its stripes.

Sherman1864 on June 10, 2014 at 7:59 AM

I guess even the Democrats don’t like being compliant stooges and lap dogs.

rplat on June 10, 2014 at 8:12 AM

That’s just not even logical. And as he said as well, we have many ways to keep tabs on these guys. It’s not like we just release them and close our eyes. We have many, many ways to.

No problem keeping track of these 5 Muslim Tollybahn members set free in a sea of Islamistds but they can’t find 200 teenage girls held by Boko Haram in a relatively small geographic area.

“Many, many ways to.”

Dolce Far Niente on June 10, 2014 at 8:29 AM

He still said “I think the president had the constitutional authority under Article Two to make this decision without consulting with Congress” Still covering.

oldandtired on June 10, 2014 at 9:31 AM