U.S. intel official told Senate: Four of the Taliban Five are likely to return to the battlefield

posted at 11:31 am on June 10, 2014 by Allahpundit

As damning as that headline is, I think this Eli Lake/Kimberly Dozier piece ends up being the best defense yet of why Obama agreed to make the swap. Per their sources, the Taliban had all but given up on an exchange for Bergdahl after so many years of false starts and wanted to kill him. It was the Haqqanis, who were holding Bergdahl prisoner, who still wanted a deal. That meant O could either make the deal and take a ferocious political beating for trading five dangerous savages for an American who had, after all, deserted — or he could walk away and take a ferocious political beating for abandoning an American to his fate after the eventual propaganda video of Bergdahl being beheaded started circulating.

In fact, it could be that O boxed himself in here by letting Bergdahl’s parents get too close to the process. They were, apparently, being looped in on CENTCOM briefings about their son; they knew enough about the White House’s efforts to bring him home to have blabbed about a possible prisoner swap more than two years ago. If, after all that, Obama decided the price was too steep and walked away from negotiations, Bob Bergdahl would have raised holy hell in the media about how there was a deal for his son on the table and the president wouldn’t take it. The strategic argument for not doing the deal was strong — you don’t send killers back into battle to target your boys when hostilities haven’t ended — but it was no-win politically, so Obama opted for what he thought would be the most easily spinnable option, namely, bringing Bergdahl back on the principle that we leave no man behind. The Taliban we released can, after all, always be droned later if need be:

A top intelligence official told lawmakers in a classified Senate briefing last week that he expected four out of the five Taliban leaders released by the Obama administration to eventually return to the battlefield…

It also means that President Obama was faced with a particularly excruciating choice as he weighed whether or not to swap these five for American hostage Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. The government of Qatar, which agreed to look after the five Taliban leaders as part of the deal for Bergdahl, warned that factions within the Taliban were growing impatient, and campaigning to kill Bergdahl instead of trading him.

“Time is not on your side,” they told U.S. negotiators, according to two senior defense officials. They described a growing split within Taliban and Haqqani Network (which held Bergdahl) over how to best use the soldier—a split confirmed by multiple Taliban and Afghan sources in the region.

Another U.S. official told Lake and Dozier that Bergdahl was held for two years in a tiny cage, with a hood on except for when he needed to eat. How that squares with James Rosen’s bombshell last week about Bergdahl laughing, playing soccer, and even carrying a gun after converting to Islam in captivity is unclear. Rosen’s report also had details about a cage, but supposedly Bergdahl was trustworthy enough to have been freed from that by 2012. We’ll know more soon.

Most of this, according to Lake and Dozier, was spelled out to the Senate in last week’s classified briefing, including the likelihood that four of the Five will be back shooting at American soldiers sooner or later. Which is … curious, because if Foreign Policy is right, the classified briefing given to the House last night was very different:

Facing growing skepticism on Capitol Hill about its decision to swap five Taliban prisoners for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the White House told lawmakers at a classified briefing late Monday night that some of the freed militants were political figures, not hardened soldiers, according to lawmakers who attended the session…

“They don’t seem to have been combatants at all,” said Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), who attended Monday’s briefing. “The guys we traded, you hear all kinds of things about ‘they killed Americans.’ Three of them were governors of provinces under the Taliban government…They were governors.”

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), who also attended the briefing, agreed. “Who are these people? As it turns out … they were government officials. They weren’t soldiers, and they aren’t soldiers now.”

I don’t know how to square that with the Lake/Dozier piece. Neither does John Hudson, the author of the Foreign Policy story on the House briefing. It makes no sense that the White House would lie to one chamber of Congress but not the other; word will get out about what was said in each briefing and people will notice the contradiction. Maybe different intel personnel are drawing different conclusions about the jihadist tendencies among the Taliban Five and then relaying that info to Congress? You would think the White House could call a huddle and get everyone on the same page before briefing the legislature, but they’re two years into lame-duckery. Maybe they don’t care enough to do that anymore.


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As if there was ever any doubt.

Bmore on June 10, 2014 at 11:34 AM

No worries.

Obama’s got this.

Good Lt on June 10, 2014 at 11:36 AM

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

In sane times he’d be thrown out. In our times his constituents don’t even know who he is.

Schadenfreude on June 10, 2014 at 11:37 AM

Didn’t we use to call Taliban governors “warlords”?

Flange on June 10, 2014 at 11:37 AM

Senate: Four of the Taliban Five are likely to return to the battlefield

…Harry Reid: “Financed by the Koch Brothers”.

KOOLAID2 on June 10, 2014 at 11:38 AM

On June 1 Hagel said that obama made the final decision on Bergdahl.

Plus this

If you believe the claim that Hagel decided on his own, you also believe in Santa and the Easter bunny.

Schadenfreude on June 10, 2014 at 11:38 AM

It’s not like they are going to actually slaughter – slaughter people.

VegasRick on June 10, 2014 at 11:39 AM

This White House isn’t sure about who made the final call on the deal now.

rbj on June 10, 2014 at 11:41 AM

5 if you count Bergdahl.

portlandon on June 10, 2014 at 11:42 AM

Cripe

cmsinaz on June 10, 2014 at 11:42 AM

Too bad we couldn’t figure out a way to hide GPS trackers in these f-ckers, so we could later give them the Sheikh Yassin treatment.

/yassinerate them

Ward Cleaver on June 10, 2014 at 11:43 AM

Someone hurry up and tell purple heart Kerry and that stooge that was on Andrea Mitchell’s show!

rjoco1 on June 10, 2014 at 11:43 AM

I have a suggestion for a political leader who should be sent to Gitmo..

hillsoftx on June 10, 2014 at 11:44 AM

“They don’t seem to have been combatants at all,” said Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.)

Is this what they are going with…? from Jerrold Nadler?

d1carter on June 10, 2014 at 11:44 AM

Only 4? What’s wrong with the last one? And that’s not counting Bergdahl as portlandon pointed out.

jwolf on June 10, 2014 at 11:44 AM

In fact, it could be that O boxed himself in here by letting Bergdahl’s parents get too close to the process.

They had unfettered access to classified meetings, without a security clearance.

They ‘happened’ to be in DC for the announcement with obama, over 2030 miles away from the WH :)

Schadenfreude on June 10, 2014 at 11:45 AM

This White House isn’t sure about who made the final call on the deal now.

rbj on June 10, 2014 at 11:41 AM

“Okie dokie…..anyone wants to volunteer to be thrown under the bus, step forward now.”

hawkeye54 on June 10, 2014 at 11:45 AM

And this was Hagel’s decision….? What a charade!

d1carter on June 10, 2014 at 11:45 AM

This White House isn’t sure about who made the final call on the deal now.

rbj on June 10, 2014 at 11:41 AM

obaME is going to be madder than hell when he finds out about this on Friday!

VegasRick on June 10, 2014 at 11:46 AM

U.S. intel official told Senate: Four of the Taliban Five are likely to return to the battlefield

Say hello to the world biggest “No Shite Sherlock” moment… That is why Obama’s releasing them equals an intentional act of Treason.

oscarwilde on June 10, 2014 at 11:46 AM

I have a suggestion for a political leader who should be sent to Gitmo..

hillsoftx on June 10, 2014 at 11:44 AM

If its who I think you mean, there should be a cell block reserved exclusively for those in his organization to keep him company. Wouldn’t be right to have him go alone.

hawkeye54 on June 10, 2014 at 11:48 AM

Obama needs to be impeached for the treasonous action of lying to the American people almost constantly.

sadatoni on June 10, 2014 at 11:48 AM

The White House isn’r sure who made the final call on the deal- O would first hear about it in the news- oh, wait

lyannea on June 10, 2014 at 11:51 AM

Via Foreign Policy:

Facing growing skepticism on Capitol Hill about its decision to swap five Taliban prisoners for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the White House told lawmakers at a classified briefing late Monday night that some of the freed militants were political figures, not hardened soldiers, according to lawmakers who attended the session.

In the past several days, the administration has rolled out a number of reasons to justify swapping Bergdahl, a potential deserter, for the five Taliban officials. White House officials said they had concerns about Berdgahl’s health, felt an obligation to never leave a soldier on the battlefield, and feared the militants were preparing to kill the missing soldier. But House lawmakers exiting a late Monday briefing said the administration was now shifting to a new defense that emphasized the lack of threat posed by the individuals that were released as part of the deal.

They discussed “the dangerousness of the individuals,” or lack thereof, said Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio) in an interview, referring to Abdul Haq Wasiq, Mullah Norullah Noori, Mullah Mohammad Fazi, Mullah Khairullah Khairkhwa and Mohammad Nabi Omari, otherwise known as the “Taliban Five.” While Turner said he didn’t trust the way the administration characterized their rap sheets, other Democratic lawmakers were convinced that claims about the Taliban Five being “hardcore” terrorists were exaggerated.

“They don’t seem to have been combatants at all,” said Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), who attended Monday’s briefing. “The guys we traded, you hear all kinds of things about ‘they killed Americans.’ Three of them were governors of provinces under the Taliban government…They were governors.”

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), who also attended the briefing, agreed. “Who are these people? As it turns out … they were government officials. They weren’t soldiers, and they aren’t soldiers now.”

The takeaway from Democrats appeared to differ with the supposed characterization of the Taliban Five offered by intelligence officials last week in a briefing with Senate lawmakers, according to a report by the Daily Beast. In that story, a senior intelligence official allegedly told lawmakers that he expected four out of the five Taliban members to return to the battlefield.

Men, who are wanted by The Hague for war crimes involving the murder of – literally – thousands of Shi’ites and ethnic cleansing aren’t dangerous to kooks like Nadler, Zofgren, and Schakowsky.

Why do people like Nadler, Zofgren, and Schakowsky hate brown-skinned Muslims?

Via BuzzFeedBenny:

Dem Rep. Jackie Speier Defends The Taliban: “To Call Them Terrorists Is Not Accurate”…

I’m stunned. A Democrat loving on some of the original warriors in the War on Women? ///

Has Rep Jackie Speier, a woman, forgotten that the Taliban used to execute women in stadiums and pour acid on girls who tried to get an education?

Why does Rep Speier hate brown-skinned, Muslim women and girls?

Resist We Much on June 10, 2014 at 11:53 AM

Go ahead and wet yourselves conservatives, meanwhile O will be firing up the drone for these guys. Then again part of me believes you 2nd amendment/Old Testament savages are just angry because you all would have loved seeing Berghdahl beheaded.

Support the troops! Except for the obviously mentally troubled ones kept in a cage for 4 years….l

The Velvet Mafia on June 10, 2014 at 11:53 AM

Obama needs to be impeached for the treasonous action of lying to the American people almost constantly.

sadatoni on June 10, 2014 at 11:48 AM

I’m for banning anyone suggesting impeachment. What an idiot.

faraway on June 10, 2014 at 11:53 AM

I have a suggestion for a political leader who should be sent to Gitmo..

hillsoftx on June 10, 2014 at 11:44 AM

If its who I think you mean, there should be a cell block reserved exclusively for those in his organization to keep him company. Wouldn’t be right to have him go alone.

hawkeye54 on June 10, 2014 at 11:48 AM

And have “Old Sparky” moved from the museum to that same cell block…

oscarwilde on June 10, 2014 at 11:53 AM

If you believe the claim that Hagel decided on his own, you also believe in Santa and the Easter bunny.

Schadenfreude on June 10, 2014 at 11:38 AM

…JugEars and the v@gina Val?….well yes!…they do!

KOOLAID2 on June 10, 2014 at 11:54 AM

I prefer “The Obama Five.”

jukin3 on June 10, 2014 at 11:54 AM

But…but….I thought they were just local politicians. Like Mayor McCheese.

tommyboy on June 10, 2014 at 11:54 AM

return to the battlefield

but… but… Obama said the war on terror is over.

faraway on June 10, 2014 at 11:55 AM

sadatoni on June 10, 2014 at 11:48 AM

I’m for banning anyone suggesting impeachment. What an idiot.

faraway on June 10, 2014 at 11:53 AM

Believing that the Constitution should still be the law of the land is the act of an idiot eh? Good to know you feel that way…

oscarwilde on June 10, 2014 at 11:55 AM

The fifth has taken up yoga.

Well, that explains everything.

formwiz on June 10, 2014 at 11:56 AM

Don’t feed the trolls.

Ward Cleaver on June 10, 2014 at 11:57 AM

Hahaha, Nadler talking about how they were Governers, like he’s picturing the Taliban version of Christie or Jerry Brown!

ellifint on June 10, 2014 at 11:59 AM

“Per their sources, the Taliban had all but given up on an exchange for Bergdahl after so many years of false starts and wanted to kill him. It was the Haqqanis, who were holding Bergdahl prisoner, who still wanted a deal. That meant O could either make the deal and take a ferocious political beating for trading five dangerous savages for an American who had, after all, deserted…”

No, it doesn’t. He could have upped the cash prize, he could have cut his losses, he could have sent in a larger team to A) retreive him, and b) worst case provide the guy with a more merciful end than being beheaded on video.

They kept Bergdahl for *five years*. That doesn’t happen unless the US has already slammed down to their knees, and this admin has a *miserable* negotiating record, or they find the hostage likable for other reasons.

The Taliban had written Bergdahl off because responsible people had told them to eff off in previous negotiations. The Haqqani, from my understanding, are less interested in exchanges than in cash. Obama provided them with both, I suspect, and he traded them the G5 because he didn’t have a shot in hell of getting them out of Gitmo any other way without doing it under the table, and out of the press. That’s the leak they were afraid of.

Recon5 on June 10, 2014 at 11:59 AM

Wait for it…….Dear Leader has full confidence in Hagel.

d1carter on June 10, 2014 at 12:00 PM

Go ahead and wet yourselves conservatives, meanwhile O will be firing up the drone for these guys.

The Velvet Mafia on June 10, 2014 at 11:53 AM

Not in Qatar, my dear.

Then again part of me believes you 2nd amendment/Old Testament savages are just angry because you all would have loved seeing Berghdahl beheaded.

Yeah, right. This atheist really wanted Bergdahl beheaded.///

Like the majority of Americans, I think the price was too high, especially for someone, who, according to the 2010 Pentagon report, walked away from his post abandoning his comrades-in-arms during a time of war.

Support the troops! Except for the obviously mentally troubled ones kept in a cage for 4 years….l

LOLZ. He wasn’t kept in a cage for 4 years. It is quite hard to play soccer with your captors and go to target practise carrying an AK-47 when you are in a cage.

He was put in a cage for 5 days in 2010. By 2012, he was just chummy.

Resist We Much on June 10, 2014 at 12:00 PM

Don’t feed the trolls.

Ward Cleaver on June 10, 2014 at 11:57 AM

I’m just marking them with fluorescent spray paint.

faraway on June 10, 2014 at 12:00 PM

sadatoni on June 10, 2014 at 11:48 AM

I’m for banning anyone suggesting impeachment. What an idiot.

faraway on June 10, 2014 at 11:53 AM

Believing that the Constitution should still be the law of the land is the act of an idiot eh? Good to know you feel that way…

oscarwilde on June 10, 2014 at 11:55 AM

I think he forgot his /. He is usually right on things. I think I remember that…………

VegasRick on June 10, 2014 at 12:01 PM

Four of the Taliban Five are likely to return to the battlefield

The fifth one is going on tour with ZZ Top to promote their new album.

dreadnought62 on June 10, 2014 at 12:03 PM

The Velvet Mafia on June 10, 2014 at 11:53 AM

Would you have traded Khalid Sheik Mohammed for Bowe Robert Bergdahl?

Would you have traded Osama bin Laden for a guy who walked away from his country and his brothers-in-arms during a time of war?

How about a nuke for this ‘troubled child (///)’?

I mean, if we don’t leave anyone behind…

Resist We Much on June 10, 2014 at 12:03 PM

Four of the Taliban Five are likely to return to the battlefield

The fifth one is going on tour with ZZ Top to promote their new album.

dreadnought62 on June 10, 2014 at 12:03 PM

How many times can Billy Gibbons shoot him on stage before he really starts to stink?

oscarwilde on June 10, 2014 at 12:06 PM

What about the two guys in the Obama Five that were under UN indictment for genocide? Obama the cowboy doing whatever he wants and damn the international community.

jukin3 on June 10, 2014 at 12:06 PM

The blood of the future victims of these barbarians IS ON OBAMA’S HANDS.

ConstantineXI on June 10, 2014 at 12:06 PM

What about the two guys in the Obama Five that were under UN indictment for genocide? Obama the cowboy doing whatever he wants and damn the international community.

jukin3 on June 10, 2014 at 12:06 PM

It’s all good, Obama has a Nobel Peace Prize for not being George W. Bush.

ConstantineXI on June 10, 2014 at 12:07 PM

“They don’t seem to have been combatants at all,” said Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), who attended Monday’s briefing. “The guys we traded, you hear all kinds of things about ‘they killed Americans.’ Three of them were governors of provinces under the Taliban government…They were governors.”

Well, hell then. Why didn’t we release these poor innocent governors a long time ago? /

Hill60 on June 10, 2014 at 12:07 PM

I don’t care if they aren’t shooters NOW, they’re the ones who order morons to strap on bombs and walk into crowds.

Bishop on June 10, 2014 at 12:11 PM

Don’t feed the trolls.

Ward Cleaver on June 10, 2014 at 11:57 AM

…they are starting to become more active!…surprised?

KOOLAID2 on June 10, 2014 at 12:13 PM

Don’t feed the trolls.

Ward Cleaver on June 10, 2014 at 11:57 AM

I’m just marking them with fluorescent spray paint.

faraway on June 10, 2014 at 12:00 PM

Lulz

Recon5 on June 10, 2014 at 12:14 PM

WELL, THIS IS INTERESTING: Looks Like Bowe Bergdahl’s Father Was in Contact With Al Qaeda
Robert Bergdahl Watched & Favorited YouTube Video From Anwar al-Awlaki of Al Qaeda…
Resist We Much on June 10, 2014 at 11:48 AM

No wonder it’s now Hagel’s fault…!

Akzed on June 10, 2014 at 12:15 PM

i wish we could figure out a way to get obama off the batttlefield. he’s killing us.

t8stlikchkn on June 10, 2014 at 12:31 PM

The claim that Bergdahl was physically ill is also not true.

Yesterday it was confirmed by the doctors in Landstuhl.

If the WH will claim that Bergdahl is nuts, and can’t be tried, that downs their theory that they had to get him out because he was almost dead.

Schadenfreude on June 10, 2014 at 12:31 PM

…JugEars and the v@gina Val?….well yes!…they do!

KOOLAID2 on June 10, 2014 at 11:54 AM

No one like you,Kool!

Schadenfreude on June 10, 2014 at 12:32 PM

That meant O could either make the deal and take a ferocious political beating for trading five dangerous savages for an American who had, after all, deserted — or he could walk away and take a ferocious political beating for abandoning an American to his fate after the eventual propaganda video of Bergdahl being beheaded started circulating.

First off, that’s assuming he was interested in returning an American soldier. I think it’s much more plausible that he’s in a rush to close down Gitmo (especially if the 2014 election is really bad for him) so he was looking for any excuse to start emptying the pens. Heck, you see he’s already ramping up to get rid of more… is there a soldier for that exchange as well? If you’re going to empty out a prison then wouldn’t it make sense to get rid of the worst first? Then when your opponents realize what you’ve done and try to stop future actions you can point to the remaining prisoners who aren’t nearly as bad and wonder aloud if it’s really worth keeping them under lock-and-key for the rest of their lives.

We’ve seen that Obama doesn’t care about political beatings, if he really wanted to lessen any damage of another beheading he could just tell the truth – which is that this guy deserted and was probably helping the enemy, it’s this which is hurting him right now.

Ukiah on June 10, 2014 at 12:43 PM

The resumes of these governors and political figures that have never been soldiers.

http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2014/05/sgt_bowe_bergdahl_ex.php

Every one of the lying sob’s that walked out of that meeting should be hung right next to Obama and Holder and Hagen and everyone else in that “unanimous” meeting of the minds.

Recon5 on June 10, 2014 at 12:48 PM

“They don’t seem to have been combatants at all,” said Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), who attended Monday’s briefing. “The guys we traded, you hear all kinds of things about ‘they killed Americans.’ Three of them were governors of provinces under the Taliban government…They were governors.”

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), who also attended the briefing, agreed. “Who are these people? As it turns out … they were government officials. They weren’t soldiers, and they aren’t soldiers now.”

Fascinating how we’ve been told for years what pipe-hitting maniacs the Tali Fab 5 were/are, and now all of a sudden when Obama needs political cover for this fast-growing debacle, two of the most reliably whacked-out, Obama-loving lefty nutjobs in Congress try and change the tune claiming these dudes were actually never violent like we’ve been told for years that they were, and are in fact no different than local elected officials in any civilized country.

Yeah, no

Sacramento on June 10, 2014 at 12:51 PM

NBC News: Pentagon Officials Say Obama’s Claim Bergdahl’s Life In Danger “Absolutely Not True”…

Resist We Much on June 10, 2014 at 12:16 PM

Hagel: “I have full confidence in Obama.”

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Ward Cleaver on June 10, 2014 at 1:13 PM

Zoe Lofgren? What a dingbat.

Ward Cleaver on June 10, 2014 at 1:15 PM

What’s the down side.

Now we can SHOOT them.

jpcpt03 on June 10, 2014 at 1:20 PM

’ Three of them were governors of provinces under the Taliban government…They were governors.”

I believe the Gambino and Genovese families are also just businessmen…

Mortifico on June 10, 2014 at 2:13 PM

There’s a picture making the rounds on social media of Mohammed Fazi posing over five decapitated human heads.

Yeah, these guys aren’t dangerous.

But that’s not the end of it:

In fact, it could be that O boxed himself in here by letting Bergdahl’s parents get too close to the process. They were, apparently, being looped in on CENTCOM briefings about their son; they knew enough about the White House’s efforts to bring him home to have blabbed about a possible prisoner swap more than two years ago.

This is in and of itself an insanely stupid action. The kind you only see in a satirical movie about wacky dictators and their “strategies.” We are governed by total morons.

BKennedy on June 10, 2014 at 2:15 PM

Nuh-uh! They’re going to practice yoga!

John the Libertarian on June 10, 2014 at 2:19 PM