Report: Bowe Bergdahl’s father was working on raising a $10 million ransom for his son

posted at 11:21 am on June 27, 2014 by Allahpundit

So there was a ransom in the works. Fox News heard whispers about that soon after Bergdahl was released. So did the Free Beacon, from an intel official who speculated that a criminal syndicate like the Haqqani Network would have been much more interested in cash than prisoners.

If you believe BuzzFeed, though, it wasn’t the U.S. government that was considering a ransom, it was Bergdahl’s father. And it’s unclear if it was a pipe dream or something he might have actually pulled off.

Robert Bergdahl, the soldier’s father, did not return calls for comment. However, David Rohde, an American journalist who was himself held hostage by the Taliban in 2008, communicates with the family regularly and asked the father about the second channel of negotiations described by the two sources. The father, he said, acknowledges setting up “multiple channels” to the Taliban, because he was willing to try anything to free his son. But the father, a retired UPS worker, insisted that he did not take this effort seriously, that there was never an actual ransom price discussed, and that he never raised money for a ransom

It’s unclear how much, if anything, the U.S. government knew about this channel. One former American official involved in the formal negotiations was dismissive of the father’s outreach. “There was nothing serious about those efforts,” he said. “They were not plausible. There is always background noise in things like this. It wasn’t serious enough to merit attention.”

So it was a pipe dream. Or … was it?

[In the fall of 2013] the Taliban negotiated on both fronts, for the cash on one hand and for the prisoners on the other, as if hedging their bets.

The cash, at least to the two sources familiar with this channel, seemed to be winning out. “These financial negotiations were more advanced then the prisoner talks,” one source said. “They were really close to getting this done,” said the other.

But there were still plenty of unknowns, including how Bergdahl’s father would have raised the ransom money if a deal had been reached. One theory is that a friendly government in the Middle East would have contributed the cash. And even if the deal were struck, could the actual release have gone through?

So it wasn’t a pipe dream? I’m confused. But this is important news if the White House knew about it. One of BuzzFeed’s sources claims that Bob Bergdahl kept his ransom negotiations “close to the vest” — but obviously not so close to prevent a story like this one from coming out. Also, Bergdahl’s parents reportedly had “extraordinary insider access” to the military’s hunt for their son, replete with video conferences involving senior commanders and White House and State Department officials. Hard to believe Bergdahl’s father wouldn’t have mentioned the ransom option to his government liaisons at any point, especially given the potential risk to his son from any miscommunications. If government negotiators had been close to freeing Bowe and then Bob Bergdahl surprised them by swooping in with a ransom offer out of the blue, the Taliban might have gotten confused or suspicious and backed out altogether. It was in his interest to let the White House know.

And if the White House did know, the question arises: Why’d they go ahead with the prisoner swap for the Taliban Five if Bergdahl’s captors would have taken cash from private sources instead? Both are unpalatable options; arguably the ransom would have been harder to sell politically to Americans than a prisoner swap would, since the former feels like pure appeasement while the latter has some military tradition. Apparently, though, it was on the table, and it would have kept five bad actors from returning to the battlefield had it gone through. So why’d they do a trade instead? One possibility, as BuzzFeed notes, is that the White House regarded the swap as a confidence-building measure that would hopefully bring the Taliban around on broader peace talks. But that’s goofy, if true: The U.S. has been reaching out for talks for years and has been rebuffed at every turn. The other possibility is that Obama really was and is hellbent on closing Gitmo, and only a prisoner swap would accomplish that goal. If he (or a Sunni ally) had paid the $10 million, he’d still be stuck with figuring out what to do with the Taliban Five. A straight-up exchange solved his problem while the ransom didn’t. Go figure that the exchange won out.


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We can fund terrorists now?

rogerb on June 27, 2014 at 11:24 AM

The primary reason for negotiations was to release the Gitmo-5. Releasing Bergdahl was just an excuse.

rhombus on June 27, 2014 at 11:25 AM

Pipe dreams of pipe bombs. I wonder if Bergdad Bob would even care if he was funding the murder of other people’s children.

Flange on June 27, 2014 at 11:27 AM

One theory is that a friendly government in the Middle East would have contributed the cash.

BS. It was a way for an oil sheik to fund his buddies in the Taliban while avoiding any money transfer restrictions by claiming to do it out of “compassion.”

rbj on June 27, 2014 at 11:28 AM

Pipe dreams of pipe bombs. I wonder if Bergdad Bob would even care if he was funding the murder of other people’s children.

Flange on June 27, 2014 at 11:27 AM

bergdad bob has pipe bomb dreams.

VegasRick on June 27, 2014 at 11:30 AM

I wonder if Bergdad Bob would even care if he was funding the murder of other people’s children.

Flange on June 27, 2014 at 11:27 AM

Based on his actions, likely not.

If not a case of ‘the ends justifies the means’, it would have been ‘one man’s terrorist is Bergdad Bob’s freedom fighter’.

Athos on June 27, 2014 at 11:30 AM

There was speculation from the beginning, based partly on what appeared to be Robert Bergdahl’s social media contacts, that he was directly involved in the negotiations.

He negotiates, makes a deal, WH pays the ransom. Not complicated.

Missy on June 27, 2014 at 11:30 AM

I’m surprise that traitor Bowe ‘Abdullah’ Bergdahl’s fruitcake father had time to work on this – considering that he spends most of his spare time stalking and harassing women:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2657068/EXCLUSIVE-Revealed-Twin-sisters-lived-fear-Bowe-Bergdahls-stalker-father-caught-peeping-windows-shower.html

Pork-Chop on June 27, 2014 at 11:30 AM

The TaliPa had more access to obama than the intelligence chief on ISIS matters.

I don’t blame the father. I blame obama for the stupid deal.

The Southern open border will fix obama, soon enough.

Schadenfreude on June 27, 2014 at 11:32 AM

Are we sure that the Bergdahl release and the release of the Taliban 5 were actually connected?

Bergdahl could have been a straight ransom deal. The Taliban 5 release could have been tied to a Taliban/Afghan negotiation.

faraway on June 27, 2014 at 11:34 AM

A father will go to great lengths.

John the Libertarian on June 27, 2014 at 11:36 AM

Didn’t these guys get 5 mil recently?

We can fund terrorists now?

rogerb on June 27, 2014 at 11:24 AM

You don’t expect the Choom gang to fund the American Armed Forces and our allies, do you?

formwiz on June 27, 2014 at 11:40 AM

You don’t expect the Choom gang to fund the American Armed Forces and our allies, do you?

formwiz on June 27, 2014 at 11:40 AM

I believe the Preen Lantern refers to them as the Legion of Choom.

Flange on June 27, 2014 at 11:47 AM

Dang, I’d have given a few bucks rather than let five terrorists out.

Cindy Munford on June 27, 2014 at 11:50 AM

The primary reason for negotiations was to release the Gitmo-5. Releasing Bergdahl was just an excuse.

rhombus on June 27, 2014 at 11:25 AM

Exactly. And as a bonus another terrorist (Bergdahl) was freed too. In Bowe Bergdahl we’ve found a soldier even the left can love.

Hell, the only reason Obama is sending anyone to Iraq is to get them captured so he can empty Gitmo getting them released.

ConstantineXI on June 27, 2014 at 11:54 AM

OFF TOPIC BIG TIME: Mexican Military Chopper Crosses Into US, Shoots At Border Agents

mechkiller_k on June 27, 2014 at 11:55 AM

We can fund terrorists now?

rogerb on June 27, 2014 at 11:24 AM

Sure, one of Obama’s half brothers is the chief US fundraiser for the muzzie Bros.

Be careful though, donating to TEA Party or other “incorrect” candidates or ideologies like pro life and pro NATURAL marriage organizations might get you charged with funding terrorists, or at least an IRS colonoscopy under the Obama Regime…

ConstantineXI on June 27, 2014 at 12:01 PM

Has anyone heard from Bergdahl yet? Or does the Regime still have him locked up in solitary confinement because he is still saying things that would be embarrassing to Obama like “Death to America!”

I know they don’t care about the desertion, so the only conclusion I can reach is that Bergdahl is a political prisoner of the Obama Regime.

forest on June 27, 2014 at 12:01 PM

OFF TOPIC BIG TIME: Mexican Military Chopper Crosses Into US, Shoots At Border Agents

mechkiller_k on June 27, 2014 at 11:55 AM

Cassius Belli for WAR…

ConstantineXI on June 27, 2014 at 12:01 PM

Clearly the exchange was the political motivation on the part of the White House.

Sources familiar with the negotiations -speaking on the condition of anonymity since they weren’t authorized to discuss such matters- concede that the administration had offered the entire GITMO facility and the Marine detachment based there, in the trade. The Haqqani Network -lacking adequate resources of their own to support and maintain the facility- politely declined.

BKeyser on June 27, 2014 at 12:04 PM

Has anyone heard from Bergdahl yet? Or does the Regime still have him locked up in solitary confinement because he is still saying things that would be embarrassing to Obama like “Death to America!”

I know they don’t care about the desertion, so the only conclusion I can reach is that Bergdahl is a political prisoner of the Obama Regime.

forest on June 27, 2014 at 12:01 PM

I’d say he is a political prisoner of Obama so to speak. He’s being kept hidden so that he can’t say anything that would embarrass Obama, such as “Death to America” which is one of the muzzies favorite cheers. He’s cooperating because the Obama Regime could always convene the Court Martial over his treason and desertion, BOTH capital crimes in a war.

ConstantineXI on June 27, 2014 at 12:05 PM

is this a news site or an opinion site? I notice a lot of articles are just the blogger saying what they “think” happened by making assumptions about others motive and very little in the way of hard facts. Lots of rumours and innuendos.

Politricks on June 27, 2014 at 12:06 PM

Cassius Belli for WAR…

ConstantineXI on June 27, 2014 at 12:01 PM

But, but, but they apologized. And to a liberal that’s all that matters. No repercussions, no attempt to ensure it doesn’t happen again. Just “I’m sorry.”

Flange on June 27, 2014 at 12:08 PM

bergdahl and his family are traitors.

crosshugger on June 27, 2014 at 12:09 PM

Mexican Military Chopper Crosses Into US, Shoots At Border Agents

mechkiller_k on June 27, 2014 at 11:55 AM

This is an act of WAR – and only the first of many such attacks to come – obama’s plan is coming to fruition.

Pork-Chop on June 27, 2014 at 12:12 PM

OFF TOPIC BIG TIME: Mexican Military Chopper Crosses Into US, Shoots At Border Agents

mechkiller_k on June 27, 2014 at 11:55 AM

…and why is so much money going to Homeland Security again?
…glad our borders are secure!

JugEarsButtHurt on June 27, 2014 at 12:13 PM

is this a news site or an opinion site? I notice a lot of articles are just the blogger saying what they “think” happened by making assumptions about others motive and very little in the way of hard facts. Lots of rumours and innuendos.

Politricks on June 27, 2014 at 12:06 PM

You’re right, Hot Air is quickly becoming just like CNN, MSNBC, CBS, and the BBC.

TarasBulbous on June 27, 2014 at 12:28 PM

Ten million could buy a lot of AK-47s, RPGs, PETN, etc.

Ward Cleaver on June 27, 2014 at 12:28 PM

Not to mention Politico, HuffPo, Daily Kos, et al.

TarasBulbous on June 27, 2014 at 12:29 PM

I don’t think a WH willing to release the T5 to retrieve a traitor had any real issues with providing the cash Bergdahl the Elder couldn’t raise. The fact that they were potentially in final stages on a cash trade w/out access to cash from an interested corp seems to indicate a lot more interest in retrieving Bergdahl than his history would seem to warrant.
If he was that large a priority for anyone in the admin, they would have sent the resources necessary after him. There is *no excuse for releasing the T5. The only way that happens is if the CiC prioritizes emptying Gitmo over natsec. Bergdahl was never in possession of enough value as a hostage to warrant that kind of trade.

Recon5 on June 27, 2014 at 12:55 PM

The fundamental error here is assuming “the Taliban” was the kidnapper. They were not.

Bergdahl was held by a faction of the al Haqqani network, a Taliban ally but not a part of the group. They kidnap and hold hostages for ransom. It’s what they do. Girl Scouts sell cookies, al Haqqani collects ransom.

The idea that they would capture a US soldier – the ultimate prize – and hold him for five years for nothing and trade him for Taliban prisoners is frankly a joke.

They were paid. The only questions are who paid and how much?

Adjoran on June 27, 2014 at 1:03 PM

Considering that Boob Bergdahl stood in the Rose Garden and uttered the phrase in Arabic historically used to claim conquered territory for Islam while the IdiotInChief grinned like a moron.

PJ Emeritus on June 27, 2014 at 1:08 PM

is this a news site or an opinion site? I notice a lot of articles are just the blogger saying what they “think” happened by making assumptions about others motive and very little in the way of hard facts. Lots of rumours and innuendos.

Politricks on June 27, 2014 at 12:06 PM

Yeah, it’s interesting how AP will authoritatively decide what is in the best interest of people. Yet it still proceeds to overanalyze and stretch its posts out as long as possible, without saying much of substance.

Next thing you know there is some elaborate conspiracy theory to fulfill the narrative of the day.

The reality is parents will do anything for their kids.

antisense on June 27, 2014 at 2:04 PM