Feinstein: Obama shut Congress out of Bergdahl deal for two years

On Tuesday, President Obama insisted that he had “consulted with Congress for quite some time” over the possibility of swapping Taliban detainees for American hostage Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. That’s news to Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, who said it’s been more than two years since she was consulted on the issue, adding that the exchange was greeted by the Senate Intelligence Committee with “surprise and dismay.”

News of Bergdahl’s release this past weekend has stirred controversy in part because the Obama administration side-stepped a legal requirement to give Congress 30 days’ advance notice.

In late Nov. 2011, Feinstein was first briefed on the Obama administration’s proposal to trade five senior Taliban detainees at Guantanamo for Bergdahl, she told reporters Tuesday.

Alarmed at the prospect, Feinstein and her Republican vice-chairman Saxby Chambliss, wrote two classified letters expressing their views—in Dec. 2011 to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and to the president himself in Jan. 2012.