New excuse for not notifying Congress of Taliban 5 swap: Decision made day before

posted at 12:31 pm on June 10, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

How many excuses has the White House produced for not complying with the statutory requirement to notify and consult with Congress before releasing detainees from Gitmo? We’ve had enough to get to the point where they’re recycling the older ones. First we heard that there wasn’t enough time to notify Congress, followed by a claim that Bowe Bergdahl’s health was so bad he could have been dead within days. When that didn’t work, the White House then claimed that the Taliban threatened to kill Bergdahl if the deal leaked, which no one bought, and so we’re back to the we-had-no-time excuse. Take it away, Dick Durbin:

The Obama administration only finalized the exchange of the last remaining U.S. prisoner of war in Afghanistan for five Taliban detainees at Guantanamo a day before the June 1 swap, a top Democratic lawmaker said Tuesday. He said American officials didn’t learn the pickup location for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl until an hour ahead of time.

Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2-ranked Democrat, presented the timeline as an explanation for why President Barack Obama didn’t inform Congress 30 days before the deal. Republicans and some Democrats have sharply criticized the president for failing to notify them and claim he broke the law. Obama says he acted legally.

“They knew a day ahead of time the transfer was going to take place,” Durbin told reporters in the Capitol, where military officials briefed the Senate Armed Services Committee behind closed doors. “They knew an hour ahead of time where it was going to take place.”

Really? And yet, by the Obama administration’s own admission to the House on Monday, between 80 and 90 executive-branch officials knew about the swap before Congress got informed at all.

John McCain and Joe Manchin aren’t buying this explanation, either, nor the earlier ones:

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said the briefers from the Pentagon “were not clear” and did not justify the swap publicly or privately.

Two other lawmakers in the briefing, Sens. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Joe Manchin, D-W.V., both said there was no information to convince them that Bergdahl’s life was in imminent danger.

According to the National Journal, the briefing today mainly focused on why the White House didn’t need to inform Congress at all of what they were doing:

But that argument doesn’t satisfy everyone on Capitol Hill. A number of lawmakers emerged out of a closed Senate Armed Services Committee briefing Tuesday still critical of the administration’s decision to make the swap without more of a heads-up to Congress, particularly Republicans.

Virginia Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine said the 30-day notice issue is one outstanding problem for him. “I’m still troubled by whether the administration met the 30-day requirement and I’m digging into that further,” he said.

Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin said administration officials presented some additional information that was not included in last week’s all-senators closed briefing. On Tuesday, administration officials focused more on “the legal reason” for why the 30-day notice was not needed, namely pointing to Article II of the Constitution, which specifies the president’s role as Commander-in-Chief.

So, it was more of a you-guys-don’t-get-to-be-notified-but-we-were-too-busy-anyway kind of briefing? Yes, I’m certain that approach will work well with Congress — or for that matter, with the American public. While they’re slightly negative but still largely conflicted on the deal itself, both the CBS and Pew polls show that an overwhelming majority of Americans expected the White House to notify and consult with Congress on the issue.

Besides, this “last minute” explanation seems rather fishy. Could the Gitmo detainees get prepped, released, acquired, and then flown to Qatar in such a time frame? And even if that actually took place in a single 24-hour period, why couldn’t one of the 80 or so administration staffers call the key leadership chairs in Congress to let them know what was happening? The White House certainly managed to track down the Bergdahls and make sure they were on hand for the Rose Garden media event. It’s amazing that Obama had time to make sure his photo op was perfect, but not to comply with the law.

 


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“Really, the lamp fell over all on its own!”

These people sound like a five-year-old trying to get out of trouble.

UnderstandingisPower on June 10, 2014 at 12:32 PM

90 obama flacks were told.

Feinstein knew about the Osama killing 1 month ahead.

Schadenfreude on June 10, 2014 at 12:33 PM

Two federal employees in Farmington, MN failed to make the timely notification.

BobMbx on June 10, 2014 at 12:34 PM

According to FOX, Nadler in a closed door meeting last night compared the Taliban to our own revolutionaries.

Jennifer Griffin reported on this last night, immediately after.

Schadenfreude on June 10, 2014 at 12:34 PM

It’s easier to beg for forgiveness than to ask for permission.

Nethicus on June 10, 2014 at 12:35 PM

Durbin has always been a trustworthy guy.

butch on June 10, 2014 at 12:35 PM

Al Qaeda is just like George Washington’s Army.

Bin Ladin was just like Paul Revere.

And “at this point, what difference does it make?”

Schadenfreude on June 10, 2014 at 12:36 PM

This is getting pathetic even for them.

gophergirl on June 10, 2014 at 12:37 PM

It’s amazing that Obama had time to make sure his photo op was perfect, but not to comply with the law.

With this joker, it’s standard operating procedure.

rbj on June 10, 2014 at 12:38 PM

Ed, I’m waiting to hear how many reporters were notified of the swap before it happened.

It’ll be fun when that comes out.

kcewa on June 10, 2014 at 12:38 PM

Democratic motto:

“Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.”

tru2tx on June 10, 2014 at 12:38 PM

Good lapdog durby

cmsinaz on June 10, 2014 at 12:38 PM

Next excuse for not notifying Congress of Taliban 5 swap:

The term “days” in the law is vague — we were using 30 Jupiter days …

ShainS on June 10, 2014 at 12:39 PM

Next they’ll say they tried to call but the line was busy.

Flange on June 10, 2014 at 12:39 PM

Ahhh… the old ‘flood the system’ technique.

faraway on June 10, 2014 at 12:39 PM

How is it that Bergdahl’s parents just happened to be in DC that day, their abode being 2030 miles away?

Schadenfreude on June 10, 2014 at 12:39 PM

Think about this…

Obama told the enemy. But he could not tell Congress.

faraway on June 10, 2014 at 12:40 PM

So Hagel is not only dumb but slow to make a decision….

d1carter on June 10, 2014 at 12:41 PM

Some sub relay office in Cleveland was honoring Hijab Day and thought it would be Islamophobic to pass the information along.

BL@KBIRD on June 10, 2014 at 12:42 PM

Flop sweat.

This must be polling a lot worse than anybody wants known.

formwiz on June 10, 2014 at 12:45 PM

How is it that Bergdahl’s parents just happened to be in DC that day, their abode being 2030 miles away?

Schadenfreude on June 10, 2014 at 12:39 PM

Probably just the coincidence that they had already been invited to the White House to celebrate at pre Haj Dinner perhaps?

BL@KBIRD on June 10, 2014 at 12:47 PM

New D Strategy: Have a D with a safe seat serve as Obama’s flack.

I want to see Landrieu or Pryor offer this timeline to the public.

blammm on June 10, 2014 at 12:47 PM

…how can Dick Durbin even talk…with so much secretion in his mouth?

KOOLAID2 on June 10, 2014 at 12:48 PM

Bush!

Tard on June 10, 2014 at 12:48 PM

Why aren’t these explanations coming out of Chuck Hagel’s office? The buck’s been deflected to him.

de rigueur on June 10, 2014 at 12:49 PM

The White House certainly managed to track down the Bergdahls and make sure they were on hand for the Rose Garden media event.

Papa Bergdahl didn’t even have time to shave. Come’on!

blammm on June 10, 2014 at 12:50 PM

How is it that Bergdahl’s parents just happened to be in DC that day, their abode being 2030 miles away?

Schadenfreude on June 10, 2014 at 12:39 PM

…I like how the MSM reported that calmly… ‘as a matter of fact’….”they just happended to be in Washington DC!’…and did it with straight faces!

KOOLAID2 on June 10, 2014 at 12:50 PM

Why aren’t these explanations coming out of Chuck Hagel’s office? The

buck’s

bullet’s been deflected to him.

de rigueur on June 10, 2014 at 12:49 PM

FIFY

kcewa on June 10, 2014 at 12:51 PM

Why aren’t these explanations coming out of Chuck Hagel’s office? The buck’sbullet’s been deflected to him.

de rigueur on June 10, 2014 at 12:49 PM

FIFM

kcewa on June 10, 2014 at 12:52 PM

According to FOX, Nadler in a closed door meeting last night compared the Taliban to our own revolutionaries.

Jennifer Griffin reported on this last night, immediately after.

Schadenfreude on June 10, 2014 at 12:34 PM

Response to Nadler photo at the original link: “Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, son.”

At this point, the masks have been dropped, and the proggies believe (with good reason) that they can say anything at all, and not get called on it. Transformation, indeed.

bofh on June 10, 2014 at 12:54 PM

…what kind of crisis are we going to have this week?…so we can deflect the deflect of the deflects that we deflected for the deflects before?
(did I…get that right?)

KOOLAID2 on June 10, 2014 at 12:55 PM

We have the Bart Simpson presidency.

Never fear, when some action of the Obama Regime goes right, Obama will be there to take the glory and repeatedly spike the football. You will know that is the work of others.

Can someone explain to me how it is OK for King Barky the Liar to release the two guys that a wanted by the UN for genocide?

jukin3 on June 10, 2014 at 1:01 PM

Can someone explain to me how it is OK for King Barky the Liar to release the two guys that a wanted by the UN for genocide?

jukin3 on June 10, 2014 at 1:01 PM

Because when you are committing treason, little details like that really are unimportant.

oscarwilde on June 10, 2014 at 1:05 PM

Flop sweat.

This must be polling a lot worse than anybody wants known.

formwiz on June 10, 2014 at 12:45 PM

That and it’s treason. Judge Napolitano has it right. At best it’s ten years prison time at worst it’s a firing squad. There is no ambiguity here.

The socialists are throwing everything against the wall in a desperate bid to help subzero weasel his way out of trouble, but nothing is working.

OBAMA IS A TRAITOR.

dogsoldier on June 10, 2014 at 1:06 PM

On Tuesday, administration officials focused more on “the legal reason” for why the 30-day notice was not needed, namely pointing to Article II of the Constitution, which specifies the president’s role as Commander-in-Chief.

Didn’t the same Commander-in-Chief sign a law voted through both houses of Congress that he MUST inform Congress 30 days in advance of any releases from Gitmo? Doesn’t the Constitution require the President to “faithfully execute the law” voted by Congress?

Steve Z on June 10, 2014 at 1:09 PM

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney, 6/21/2013

“As we have long said, however, we would not make any decisions about transfer of any detainees without consulting with Congress and without doing so in accordance with U.S. law.”

<a href="http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/06/21/press-briefing-press-secretary-jay-carney-

Pelosi Schmelosi on June 10, 2014 at 1:10 PM

That and it’s treason. Judge Napolitano has it right. At best it’s ten years prison time at worst it’s a firing squad. There is no ambiguity here.

The socialists are throwing everything against the wall in a desperate bid to help subzero weasel his way out of trouble, but nothing is working.

OBAMA IS A TRAITOR.

dogsoldier on June 10, 2014 at 1:06 PM

Shame that not one single employee of Salem Communications has the balls to say that in public. They are in reality, about as conservative as John Boehner…

oscarwilde on June 10, 2014 at 1:12 PM

…what kind of crisis are we going to have this week?…so we can deflect the deflect of the deflects that we deflected for the deflects before?
(did I…get that right?)

KOOLAID2 on June 10, 2014 at 12:55 PM

Of course we will–the greatest threat to national security of all time–global warming!

Perfect timing, because June is the month when the Northern Hemisphere receives the most sunshine. It happens every year.

Steve Z on June 10, 2014 at 1:12 PM

Didn’t the same Commander-in-Chief sign a law voted through both houses of Congress that he MUST inform Congress 30 days in advance of any releases from Gitmo? Doesn’t the Constitution require the President to “faithfully execute the law” voted by Congress?

Steve Z on June 10, 2014 at 1:09 PM

Another Obama promise with an expiration date.

oscarwilde on June 10, 2014 at 1:13 PM

Schadenfreude on June 10, 2014 at 12:39 PM

You, my friend, are a cynic. Very unseemly. What, you don’t believe the good Senator? Low …

Chuck Ef on June 10, 2014 at 1:16 PM

So, it was more of a you-guys-don’t-get-to-be-notified-but-we-were-too-busy-anyway kind of briefing? Yes, I’m certain that approach will work well with Congress

Is that a joke? What is Congress, the most worthless of the three branches of our government, going to do? What will happen if Virginia Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine learns that the 30-day notice requirement was not met (which of course it wasn’t)? What will the nitwits Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz, Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Joe Manchin, D-W.V., do when they realize the President just decided to do this and didn’t give a hoot about the law?

OUR CONGRESS IS A JOKE! THEY WILL DO NOTHING BUT HUFF AND PUFF AND STICK THEIR COLLECTIVE FINGERS UP THEIR COLLECTIVE ASSES AS THEY SHOW THEIR OUTRAGE ON THE NEWS AND IN INTERVIEWS. WHAT A JOKE!

King of the Britons on June 10, 2014 at 1:25 PM

I think I would look into who made the travel arrangements for the parents and when they were made. Might even check on who paid.

Oleta on June 10, 2014 at 1:27 PM

durbin, mccain, schumer, kaine, graham, mcconnell, cornyn, flake, feinstein, murray, etc.

You are all now LOWERCASE………..Because you are in Congress.

And we don’t need a Congress anymore. You are irrelevant.

We have the DOTUS, The supreme 1st ruler of MEXIMERICA.

Open zee bordurs, teat of the federal sow for ones and alls.

PappyD61 on June 10, 2014 at 1:28 PM

Hey, Durbin, there is a reason your name is Dick and it has nothing to do with the short-form of Richard.

Bitter Clinger on June 10, 2014 at 1:28 PM

“Little Dick” Durbin.

Ward Cleaver on June 10, 2014 at 1:41 PM

Recycling project.

More like a science project. Stick it in a jar and see what grows on it. Check back each day.

Tsar of Earth on June 10, 2014 at 1:43 PM

They must be going through a lot of shovels – it seems the hole must be about a mile deep now! ( I’ll be happy to loan them one or two just so they can keep digging ! )

Lew in Colorado on June 10, 2014 at 1:47 PM

Think about this…

Obama told the enemy. But he could not tell Congress.

faraway on June 10, 2014 at 12:40 PM

I’d like to know how many readers paused at your comment. Good one.

Tsar of Earth on June 10, 2014 at 1:49 PM

They must be going through a lot of shovels – it seems the hole must be about a mile deep now! ( I’ll be happy to loan them one or two just so they can keep digging ! )

Lew in Colorado on June 10, 2014 at 1:47 PM

Shovels-Ready! (or was that too obvious?)

Tsar of Earth on June 10, 2014 at 1:52 PM

It’s easier to beg for forgiveness than to ask for permission.

Nethicus on June 10, 2014 at 12:35 PM

Easier still, is to do neither.

Alien on June 10, 2014 at 2:00 PM

Dirty Durbin, you are a faithful and loyal LIAR! You told the American people that Soc. Sec. did not add to the deficit as you were instructed by the Odumbo adm. and you knew it was a lie as it was a lie.

rjoco1 on June 10, 2014 at 2:02 PM

Honestly, Obama only found out about the swap when he saw it on the news like the rest of us. So, in fact, Congress was even more informed than the president! See nothing wrong here!

tdarrington on June 10, 2014 at 2:16 PM

So let me get this straight: They have been negotiating for BB’s release for several years. But initially, the Intel Community and DoD thought that the GITMO 5 posed to much of a threat. Now that the negotiations were coming to fruition, they didn’t have time to notify ANYONE in Congress, as required by law. But 80-90 administration officials knew about the swap. As did BB’s parents.

You expect us to believe that someone couldn’t have contacted ANYONE in Congress 30 days prior to the anticipated release? We all know why. Those in Congress, even if they promised to keep it “close hold”, would have objected to the swap. If the GITMO 5 were too high a risk 2 years ago, what happen since then to reduce the risk? Answer: NOTHING. They are still a risk.

BHO didn’t inform Congress because he knew they would object. It goes back to the old addage: It is easier to beg forgiveness than ask for permission. Only in this case, he’s not even asking for forgiveness. He’s thumbing his nose at Congress, “D” and “R” alike.

GAlpha10 on June 10, 2014 at 2:41 PM

Virginia Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine said the 30-day notice issue is one outstanding problem for him. “I’m still troubled by whether the administration met the 30-day requirement and I’m digging into that further,” he said.

Really? You’re not sure if they met the 30 day requirement? Everyone else is sure they didn’t, including the White House. They didn’t even try to meet the requirement. Keep “digging into that” Senator. Virginia, you own this tool.

jnelchef on June 10, 2014 at 2:56 PM

First we heard that there wasn’t enough time to notify Congress, followed by a claim that Bowe Bergdahl’s health was so bad he could have been dead within days. When that didn’t work, the White House then claimed that the Taliban threatened to kill Bergdahl if the deal leaked, which no one bought, and so we’re back to the we-had-no-time excuse.

Summation:

Old and Busted: There wasn’t enough time to notify Congress

New Hotness: Bowe Bergdahl’s health was so bad he could have been dead within days

Old, Busted Hotness: The Taliban threatened to kill Bergdahl if the deal leaked

Newtie and the Beauty on June 10, 2014 at 3:09 PM

It’s amazing that Obama had time to make sure his photo op was perfect, but not to comply with the law.

Well there are ‘priorities’ and then there are PRIORITIES.

And anything that King Barack believes will make him look good is a PRIORITY.

GarandFan on June 10, 2014 at 4:02 PM

I didn’t read the article. Frankly, I don’t care what Durbin says, because it’s ALWAYS nothing but lying, partisan BULLSH!T.

HiJack on June 10, 2014 at 4:04 PM

Correct me if I am wrong, but I remember something being said that when Obama signed the 30-day notice law he said while he was signing it, he did not expect or intend to follow it if necessary. I may be incorrect, but I think I remember hearing something along these lines.

Tinker on June 10, 2014 at 5:32 PM

dick…got the name right.

StevC on June 10, 2014 at 6:01 PM

So, an hour is still not enough time to adequately plan a choppered pick up out of an ambush valley.? I wouldn’t trust whoever did to fetch my lunch.
The Taliban video seems quite like it was orchestrated between buddies sitting around having a few coldies.
It appeared to be non urgent & clumsy at best..

DJcool on June 10, 2014 at 6:03 PM

Little Dickey Turban, Gimmedat Senator from Illinois.
It is difficult to choose the most skilled liar amoung the other Gimmedat senators.
Dingy Harry Reid is about as relentless a liar as there has ever been.
Babba Wawa Boxer is holding her own (and all that income) in this race.
Chuckie ‘Pick My Nose’ Schumer is my Trifecta choice.

But Little Dickey makes anyone’s SHORT list when it comes to contorted woppers.
Repealing the 17th Amendment might rectify some of this self imposed hell we’re experiencing. But it will take a complete rebirth of the American Press to fix a damn thing. And that ain’t gonna happen.
With all the modern tools available to educate the voters and they have no clue what they are doing.
Stupid Americans.

Missilengr on June 10, 2014 at 6:48 PM