Report: Sec. of State Clinton misled Congress regarding Bergdahl swap
The House Armed Services Committee has released a report with a detailed chronology proving that then-secretary of state Hillary Clinton misled Congress about the exchange of 5 Taliban commanders for Army deserter Bowe Bergdahl.
In 2011, Clinton assured GOP members of the committee that the president would follow "all legal requirements" in any prisoner exchange for Bergdahl. Less than three years later, the exchange took place after the president failed to consult Congress before the Guantanamo prisoner release.
“I want to make clear that any transfer from Guantanamo will be undertaken after consultation with Congress and pursuant to all legal requirements for transfers, including those spelled out in the FY2012 [National] Defense Authorization Act,” she said of the law signed by President Obama that December requiring that he notify Congress ahead of time.
Fewer than three years later, Mr. Obama freed five hard-line Talibancommanders from the prison at Guantanamo Bay. As the five left Cuba, U.S. specials forces troops rendezvoused with the Taliban on May 31, 2014, at a remote location in Afghanistan to pick up Sgt. Bergdahl. TheArmy would later charge him with desertion.
Those are the conclusions in a new report by the House Armed Services Committee, issued over the dissent of panel Democrats. The role of Mrs. Clinton, the Democratic Party presidential front-runner, is described in the report’s detailed chronology, gleaned from secret testimony from some of the players and classified documents.
The Clinton letter remains secret to this day. The committee could only disclose the sentence that ended up in a nonclassified letter from then-Sen. Saxby Chambliss, who led the intelligence committee and is one of those who sounded the alarm on any swap back in 2011.
The behind-the-scenes House probe came up with four major findings. The key one: Mr. Obama flatly violated the law on prison transfer notification to Congress. It matches the same conclusion from the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO).
The report also accuses the White House, Pentagon and State Department of a conscious campaign to mislead defense leaders inCongress when they made further inquiries. One example: White Housepress secretary Jay Carney told reporters “as we have long said we would not make any decision about the transfer of any detainees without consulting Congress and without doing so in accordance with U.S. law.”
In another finding, the White House, during negotiations with Qatar, an intermediary with the Taliban, excluded officials knowledgeable about the “Taliban Five,” including the Pentagon’s then-top intelligence officer, Michael Vickers.
He was locked out of interagency meetings. “I didn’t participate in any [meetings] and nobody told me about them,” he told the committee.
The White House knew at the time that if they had kept Congress in the loop, members would have been screaming bloody murder about the deal. So they chose to thumb their nose at the law and use misdirection to keep Congress from finding out about the swap.
The fact that Clinton knowingly played a role in this subterfuge should be a campaign issue. But the media already considers Hillary's record as secretary of state off limits, which makes everything from the Libyan invasion, Benghazi, and the email server to the Bergdahl swap subjects not fit for the voters to know about.