Bergdahl Swap With Taliban Breaks the Law
Here’s a riddle: When is a law not a law? Answer: Whenever POTUS decides it isn’t. Well, no one said that the riddle was funny. It just happens to be true. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, 28, was released by the Taliban on Saturday after 5 years of captivity. He was exchanged for five Taliban prisoners, detained at Gitmo. The fact that Sgt. Bergdahl was finally sent home is wonderful. The means by which it occurred, however, are less so; they are flagrantly illegal. The release itself also raises a question: After being left to languish in captivity for 5 years why ram through Bergdahl’s release now?
Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), in The Washington Post denounced the deal:
“The release of five mid- to high-level Taliban is shocking…especially not coming to Congress…You now are going to have five people on the ground targeting American troops, the Afghan troops and the Afghan people…”
The terrorists were identified by The New York Times:
- Mohammad Nabi Omari “one of the most significant former Taliban leaders detained” at Guantánamo.”
- Mullah Norullah Noori also “considered one of the most significant former Taliban officials” at the prison…”
- Mullah Mohammad Fazl…a former Taliban deputy defense minister…
- Abdul Haq Wasiq, a former top Taliban intelligence official.
- Khirullah Said Wali Khairkhwa…former minister of the interior and provincial governor.
Their release was secretly negotiated with the Taliban, by the administration without previous notification of Congress.
The New York Times conceded that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel had admitted to wrongdoing: “In this case, Hagel, acknowledged in a statement that he did not notify Congress ahead of time.” The legal obligation calls for the secretary to do so 30 days beforehand. Then, in the regime’s predictable manner, it didn’t even take 24 hours for Hagel and National Security Adviser Susan Rice to reverse the “my bad” admission on the Sunday talk show circuit. FOX News reports:
“Top Obama administration officials on Sunday praised the diplomatic and military efforts to recover Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl…saying it was an ‘extraordinary’ and ‘life-saving’ mission while disagreeing with the arguments that officials negotiated with terrorists and failed to inform Congress…‘He wasn’t simply a hostage,’ Rice said. ‘He was a prisoner of war.’ Hagel told NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’: ‘We didn’t negotiate with terrorists. Sergeant Bergdahl is a prisoner of war...’”
Ah, transparency; the reasoning puts one in mind of Bill Clinton weaseling around by redefining “is” doesn’t it?
But the pronouncement from the president is truly the bucket of muck after the flood. The Times revealed details:
“When Mr. Obama signed a bill containing the latest version of the transfer restrictions into law, he issued a signing statement claiming that he could lawfully override them under his executive powers.”
He could override them? Kim Jong-un, move over. The Imperial President’s statement, released on Saturday, put on paper the law he signed and his reasoning therein:
“Today I have signed into law H.R. 3304, the National Defense Authorization Act…Since taking office, I have repeatedly called upon the Congress to work with my Administration to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba…For the past several years, the Congress has enacted unwarranted and burdensome restrictions that have impeded my ability to transfer detainees from Guantanamo. Earlier this year I again called upon the Congress to lift these restrictions…Section 1035 of this Act gives the Administration additional flexibility to transfer detainees abroad by easing rigid restrictions that have hindered negotiations with foreign countries and interfered with executive branch determinations about how and where to transfer detainees.”
Voila. In other words, “hindering negotiations” means hindering him. He don’t need no stinkin’ separation of powers.
Although liberal mouthpieces like The Washington Post and PBS preface the illegalities committed with such phrases as GOP lawmakers going “so far as to accuse President Obama of having broken the law” and “GOP lawmakers say administration broke law with prisoner swap…” the fact remains that secret negotiations are illegal. The president didn’t even do that. He negotiated the release of Sgt. Bergdahl with the Taliban. You know, terrorists? Those pesky rascals neither the U.S. nor her allies would ever negotiate with?
The question remains “why now?” Because a midterm election is coming up, that’s why. The New York Times inadvertently tips the regime’s hand:
“The Bergdahls, who have waged a tireless campaign for their son’s release, have sometimes criticized the Obama administration for lack of action. But at the impromptu Rose Garden appearance and in a statement released earlier in the day, they praised the American and Qatari governments for their help.”
A talking point, at long last, for an administration sadly lacking any.