Chuck Hagel: Bergdahl swap didn’t set any new precedents

posted at 12:31 pm on June 11, 2014 by Noah Rothman

Quizzed by Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) on Wednesday about nature of the prisoner swap in which Taliban-affiliated Haqqani Network released Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in exchange for the release of five Taliban commanders, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel claimed that the exchange did not set any new precedents.

Smith began by saying that he, too, did not believe that the Bergdahl swap had established a new precedent for negotiating with terrorist groups. “Do you think that we’ve set some precedent here for negotiating with terrorists, or is this clearly, as it is in my mind, in a different legal category?” Smith asked.

“This was an extraordinary situation,” Hagel began. “On the precedent-setting side of this, I’m not the legal person here, but I do occasionally read. I don’t think that there were any precedents set by this.”

“We can get into all the appropriate categorizations of who are combatants, and who we were with war with, and who were terrorists, and we have legal definitions for all of those,” he continued. “I know it’s imperfect, but I do think it plays into the larger scope of what we were dealing with.”

“What is unprecedented today is the threats and what we’re up against around the world: organized, sophisticated terrorist groups,” Hagel concluded.

Later, after conceding that the State Department lists Haqqani Network as a terrorist group, Hagel insisted that America did not negotiate directly with the Haqqani Network for Bergdahl’s release.

An earlier version of this post identified Rep. Smith as a Republican.


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Hagel lied with every word, the dhimmi.

Schadenfreude on June 11, 2014 at 12:33 PM

“Send in the Drunkard!”

/ValJar

Key West Reader on June 11, 2014 at 12:33 PM

Hank Johnson and Chuck Hagel on the same CSPAN program…priceless.

d1carter on June 11, 2014 at 12:34 PM

Chuck Hagel confirms that Guam could tip over…

d1carter on June 11, 2014 at 12:36 PM

A couple of gems from today’s Hagel’s testimony:

- Obama made the decision to release 5 Taliban
- Obama NEGOTIATIED with terrorists

Nevsky on June 11, 2014 at 12:36 PM

…is drug testing part of the confirmation process in DC?

KOOLAID2 on June 11, 2014 at 12:37 PM

The depths of this administration or idiocy know no bounds….
Who cares what Obama/Hagel think, the Taliban say they’re going to kidnap more people…I GUESS THEY THINK A ‘PRECEDNET’ HAS BEEN SET.

JFKY on June 11, 2014 at 12:37 PM

…can Hagel…even pee in a cup?

KOOLAID2 on June 11, 2014 at 12:37 PM

Later, after conceding that the State Department lists (the) Haqqani Network as a terrorist group, Hagel insisted that America did not negotiate directly with the Haqqani Network for Bergdahl’s release.

Hagel omitted the fact that the Haqquanis were paid a few million to hand over the deserter to the Taliban.

Hagel danced around the classification of Bergdahl. He never named him a POW, because that’s what he never was registered as. The Army knows better.

Hagel is a rag.

obama is the enemy of the Soldiers.

Shame on the land and pity the Soldiers. They have thugs and idiots for ‘leaders’.

Never has the military been in more disarray. PC is now more important than anything.

The perfumed generals also lie through their teeth, for one more star and fancy retirement packages.

McChristal and Petraeus are guilty in all of this.

Schadenfreude on June 11, 2014 at 12:38 PM

“This was an extraordinary situation,” Hagel began. “On the precedent-setting side of this, I’m not the legal person here, but I do occasionally read. I don’t think that there were any precedents set by this.”

He had extensive conversations with Biden over this.

Rocks on June 11, 2014 at 12:38 PM

Ricochet.com has some great podcasts. One series is Law Talk with John Yoo, Richard Epstein, and Troy Senik. This week’s chat covers the Bergdahl exchange.

http://ricochet.com/podcasts/kick/

Among other things, they discuss the terrible optics that will result if we imprison or execute Bergdahl for desertion after giving up so much. I assume the pardon petition has already been drafted by WH counsel.

BuckeyeSam on June 11, 2014 at 12:38 PM

I’m not the legal person here, but I do occasionally read. Chuck Hagel. June 11th, 2014.

/He reads the newspaper. I don’t know about YOU, but this comment just inspires confidence in the Oministration. I feel so warm and fuzzy now.

Key West Reader on June 11, 2014 at 12:39 PM

HODOR!!!

BigWyo on June 11, 2014 at 12:40 PM

So how does this work? When the media ask the WH who made the call, it was Hagel. But when the media ask Hagel who made the call, it was Obama. In weeks, it will be old news, then ultimately another phony scandal.

BuckeyeSam on June 11, 2014 at 12:41 PM

…is drug taking testing part of the confirmation process in DC?

KOOLAID2 on June 11, 2014 at 12:37 PM

Yes………….

VegasRick on June 11, 2014 at 12:41 PM

Optics schmoptics…

What was done is an affront to EVERY man and woman who ever served for this nations freedoms.

Just another optical illusion and another squirrel on the fire.

The man is a deserter, no ifs and or buts about it.

Scrumpy on June 11, 2014 at 12:43 PM

“What is unprecedented today is the threats and what we’re up against around the world: organized, sophisticated terrorist groups,” Hagel concluded.

And why shouldn’t I conclude that the US aided and abetted this threat with this trade?

BuckeyeSam on June 11, 2014 at 12:44 PM

No, no precedents set…//

Scrumpy on June 11, 2014 at 12:45 PM

We see in the best of hands. Best of hands.

jukin3 on June 11, 2014 at 12:45 PM

Well – maybe not in your idiot mind. But in the minds of America’s enemies, it certainly did.

Hagel is a complete idiot. And, he is 100% establishment republican.

And yet GOP apologists don’t see any problem with the GOP.

Monkeytoe on June 11, 2014 at 12:46 PM

Hagel seems like the kind of witness that the WH feels compelled to send in with a script that includes things NOT to say only to have Hagel read them anyway.

BuckeyeSam on June 11, 2014 at 12:46 PM

That special kind of California leftie Jackie Speier just tried to change the subject by bringing up “water boarding and torture”. I missed the first. Has anyone brought up whether money was exchanged?

polly2150 on June 11, 2014 at 12:47 PM

See should be are. Smart phone is your enemy. Preview is your friend.

jukin3 on June 11, 2014 at 12:48 PM

Well – maybe not in your idiot mind. But in the minds of America’s enemies, it certainly did.

Hagel is a complete idiot. And, he is 100% establishment republican.

And yet GOP apologists don’t see any problem with the GOP.

Monkeytoe on June 11, 2014 at 12:46 PM

This is the Republicans fault????????? Is suzy rice your sister?

VegasRick on June 11, 2014 at 12:49 PM

Ummmm….Noah…I believe that Rep. Adam Smith from the conservative bastion of Washington State is a Democrat, sir…you may wish to correct that, my friend…

bimmcorp on June 11, 2014 at 12:51 PM

When you think of the Senate Morons Club, you think of Barry, Joe, Hill, Lurch, and Hagel.

I don’t think they’ll have trouble finding a replacement for Hagel, either.

formwiz on June 11, 2014 at 12:52 PM

Rep. Adam Smith (RD-WA)

FIFY

ConservativePartyNow on June 11, 2014 at 12:54 PM

A bunch of LIARS! S Rice went out and said that the exigency of the situation prevented them from following the law and advising Congress. However, we now learn that this negotiation had been ongoing since Jan and Odumbo told 80-90 people about it, but no one in Congress. Don’t believe a word from the Adm or anyone associated with it!LIARS!

rjoco1 on June 11, 2014 at 12:55 PM

who we were with war with

I don’t believe that the end of hostilities has been declared. And you are the secretary of defense? We will always be at war with Al Qaeda since this administration has seen fit to allow factions of that group to set up shop in Libya and Syria. Not to mention Iraq now with the taking of Mosul the other day.

Patriot Vet on June 11, 2014 at 12:55 PM

So how does this work? When the media ask the WH who made the call, it was Hagel. But when the media ask Hagel who made the call, it was Obama. In weeks, it will be old news, then ultimately another phony scandal.

BuckeyeSam on June 11, 2014 at 12:41 PM

Yep…I can just hear Tommy Vietor now…”Dooode..that was like 3 weeks ago, man…pass the blunt, …”

bimmcorp on June 11, 2014 at 12:56 PM

Yep…I can just hear Tommy Vietor now…”Dooode..that was like 3 weeks ago, man…pass the blunt, …”

bimmcorp on June 11, 2014 at 12:56 PM

I think they are waaaaaaayyyy beyond weed in the white house….

VegasRick on June 11, 2014 at 12:58 PM

Delusional.

First Hagel sells what’s left of his soul to join The Regime now he’s Lord Haw Haw.

viking01 on June 11, 2014 at 12:58 PM

Chuck Hagel: Bergdahl swap didn’t set any new precedents

Of course not – Obama breaks the law all the time.

Ward Cleaver on June 11, 2014 at 12:59 PM

Chuck Hagel is the solar-powered yard light of Obama’s crew of dimwits.

JEM on June 11, 2014 at 1:02 PM

They all keep saying that Bowe Bergdahl is a soldier..that he was fighting in combat..that we always brings OUR guys back…Really?? Seems to me that the moment he shed his uniform, gave up his weapon, abandoned his post AND his brothers in arms in an effort to seek the comfort of the Taliban, he ceased to be an American Soldier, and forfeited any claim of being one of ‘us’. To say anything to the contrary is to spit in the eyes of those brave souls who died attempting to find ham as well as those whom he deserted in the face of the enemy.

And for Chuck Hagel to get on his high horse and claim how outraged he is of the treatment of Bergdahl’s parents?? How the hell do you think WE feel when Jihad Bob Bergahl stands at the podium in the Rose Garden of the White House, next to an approving, smiling Barack Obama, at recites the Muslim battle cry loud and proud? Hagel is an ass clown and Obama is a Muslim practicing tacqqiya in our White House…

bimmcorp on June 11, 2014 at 1:03 PM

Did anyone ask if they paid money?

crankyoldlady on June 11, 2014 at 1:09 PM

The key question we need answered is…

Was there any money exchanged as part of the swap? If so, then you have clear evidence that President Obama committed treason by aiding an enemy of the United States according to Article III Section 3 of the US Constitution.

dominigan on June 11, 2014 at 1:13 PM

him, although finding ham in Afghanistan is pretty dangerous as well…pardon the other two typos…old keyboard here…

bimmcorp on June 11, 2014 at 1:15 PM

Rep. Smith said Bergdahl was captured fighting, a lie. Hagel said the terrorist threat we face is unprecedented. Whom have we been fighting for the last 13 years? And what has that to do with this swap? The excerpt shown here has Hagel making little sense.

Sheerq on June 11, 2014 at 1:21 PM

I haven’t read any of the above posts so I may be repeating a comment. My comment is, Hagel you are a jerk and unqualified to be Sec Def.

steveracer on June 11, 2014 at 1:51 PM

“I’m not a doctor, but I do occasionally read. Vaccines are bad.”

drewwerd on June 11, 2014 at 1:53 PM

A couple of gems from today’s Hagel’s testimony:

- Obama made the decision to release 5 Taliban
- Obama NEGOTIATIED with terrorists

Nevsky on June 11, 2014 at 12:36 PM

The other thing that really raised my hackles was when, talking about the blowback against Bergdahl, he said we will judge him on the facts, not “political hearsay.”

ncinca on June 11, 2014 at 1:57 PM

I don’t think this administration negotiated with terrorists.

I think they just gave them what they wanted.

PackerBronco on June 11, 2014 at 2:00 PM

It’s an example of unprecedented stupidity and incompetence in a presidential administration, but other than that, no precedent.

slickwillie2001 on June 11, 2014 at 2:06 PM

Negotiating with terrorists over a hostage is precedent setting, Chuck.

Ellis on June 11, 2014 at 2:09 PM

Just a quick refresher:

The Secretary of Defense is in the chain of command and exercises command and control, subject only to the orders of the President, over all Department of Defense forces (the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps) for both operational and administrative purposes.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Secretary_of_Defense

Hagel. Facepalm.

can_con on June 11, 2014 at 2:23 PM

Eff off Hagel you liar!

neyney on June 11, 2014 at 3:09 PM

No where else except in the Obama National Security Team, has BHO worked so hard to ensure he is always the smartest person in the room / meeting.

I’m really starting to wonder if the entire National Security Command Team for this Administration has an IQ that sums up to a normal room temperature.

Athos on June 11, 2014 at 4:23 PM

“Do you agree as I do that protecting the dog eater must come before everything, and that we should twist the ever lovin’ shiite out of the word ‘legal’ to do it?”

-Yes, why yes I do!

“Thank you, Mr. Hagel, I think we can now close this investigation.”

Bishop on June 11, 2014 at 10:53 PM