The White House concedes that the Bergdahl swap is a political disaster. ABC News:
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel – not President Obama – executed the administration’s final call to proceed with the prisoner exchange of five ranking Taliban detainees for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, administration officials told Congress today in a classified briefing today.
“They indicated [it was] Secretary Hagel [who made the final call],” House Armed Services Chairman Buck McKeon, R-California, told reporters following the briefing Monday evening. “It was the president of the United States that came out [in the Rose Garden] with the Bergdahls and took all the credit and now that there’s been a little pushback he’s moving away from it and it’s Secretary Hagel?”
Officials also told Congress that 80 to 90 people within the administration knew of its plans to go forward with the controversial swap, exacerbating tensions between the White House and members of Congress.
“They made it clear that there were 80 to 90 people who knew ahead of time about the Bergdahl release,” Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minnesota, a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, told reporters. “There was a sense of anger that members of Congress didn’t know about this. Obviously, if there is secure information — members of Congress knew about the capture of Osama bin Laden — and yet 80 to 90 staff in the White House knew about this.”
While Bachmann says administration officials insist no members of Congress were informed before the exchange, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has repeatedly said he found out about impending plans from the White House the day before the exchange happened.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a U.S. Air Force pilot who flew missions over Iraq and Afghanistan, told reporters that evidence is “obvious now” that Sgt. Bergdahl deserted his post, and therefore any notion that the United States does not leave its own behind was negated after Bergdahl apparently walked off base.
“Now look, if it comes out…somebody snuck into base and abducted him, that’s one thing, but I think every indication that we’re getting is that he walked off his base,” Kinzinger, R-Illinois, said. “When you leave your country behind, the assurance of your country will never leave you behind is null and void. That’s what I learned in survival training, that this is kind of a two-way street.”
Several lawmakers said they expected to receive additional briefings from the administration in the coming days, though those discussions are likely to continue behind closed doors in a classified setting.
“There’s a lot of problems with the administration’s story,” Bachmann said. “It keeps changing, and it doesn’t add up.”
The other day when Chuck Hagel said he supported the president’s decision he didn’t mention that he made the final call. Who was it that said “victory has many fathers but failure is an orphan?” (Speaking of failures, where has Joe Biden been hiding the past couple weeks?)
Pretty soon the White House will be claiming that Obama didn’t even know about the swap until he read about it in the newspaper. Meanwhile Bowe Bergdahl is being held incommunicado in a military hospital in Germany. Don’t be surprised if he gets whisked off to some mental hospital where he can “recuperate” in total privacy for the next 2 1/2 years.
Meanwhile, Hillary kicked off her 2016 presidential campaign last night with a softball interview with Diane Sawyer. I tried to watch it but couldn’t even make it to the first commercial. If Hillary wants to impress me she needs to do an one hour interview with Megyn Kelly.