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June 03, 2014

Hello: White House Overrode Normal Rules of Interagency Debate on Bergdahl Exchange to Get the Answer They Wanted

"Richard Windsor" just emailed to say "I approve."

To pull off the prisoner swap of five Taliban leaders for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the White House overrode an existing interagency process charged with debating the transfer of Guantanamo Bay prisoners and dismissed long-standing Pentagon and intelligence community concerns based on Top Secret intelligence about the dangers of releasing the five men, sources familiar with the debate tell TIME.

Remember that item, yesterday I think, about the WH "forcing a consensus" on the swap, where none existed?

National Security Council officials at the White House decline to describe the work of the ad hoc process they established to trade the prisoners, or to detail the measures they have taken to limit the threat the Taliban officials may pose. They say consensus on the plan was reached by the top officials of Obama’s national security team, including representatives from the Pentagon, State Department, intelligence community and Joint Chiefs of Staff. “These releases were worked extensively through deputies and principals,” says National Security Counsel Deputy for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes. “There was not a dissent on moving forward with this plan.”

But officials in the Pentagon and intelligence communities had successfully fought off release of the five men in the past, officials tell Time. “This was out of the norm,” says one official familiar with the debate over the dangers of releasing the five Taliban officials. “There was never the conversation.” Obama’s move was an ultimate victory for those at the White House and the State Department who had previously argued the military should “suck it up and salute,” says the official familiar with the debate.


By the way, I saw a tweet, from Politico, I think, stating that the White House expected the national mood to be "euphoric" over trading five serious terrorist threats for one alleged deserter/defector/traitor.

Dear Amazon Customer Service Department,

I would like to return my "Most Intellectual President in United States History," Item Number 00-00044-0.

It appears to be defective and, frankly, dumb.


By the way, père Bergdahl greeted his son's release by vowing God (Allah) would "repay" for the death of every Afghan child.


Update: The Army Times has sources who say that Bergdahl "walked off" the base before the incident we all now know of.

Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl intentionally sneaked away from his forward operating base in Afghanistan just before he disappeared in 2009, and that may not have been the first time he left the post without permission, according to officials familiar with the military’s internal investigation.

“We have no indication that he intended to leave permanently,” one government official familiar with the probe told Military Times. Several soldiers in Bergdahl’s unit told investigators that Bergdahl had previously talked about a desire to leave the base unaccompanied and may have done so and returned unharmed at least once before the night he disappeared, the official said.

An internal military investigation concluded in 2010 that there was little doubt Bergdahl walked away from his unit before he was captured. That investigation, known as an AR-15-6, remains classified and has not been released publicly, but several officials familiar with it have disclosed its results under condition of anonymity.


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posted by Ace at 05:17 PM

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