The Conversation

Report: Obama Admin Failed to Inform Congress Because of Taliban Threat

During a briefing with Senators Wednesday the White House offered a new excuse for failing to notify them 30 days prior to the prisoner swap as required by law. The AP reports the Taliban threatened to kill Bowe Bergdahl if word of the deal leaked ahead of time.

The report ascribes this to "three congressional officials" but does not identify them, which party they are from or whether they are elected officials or staff.

The immediate response on Twitter to the news was to question the validity of this excuse including it's political utility. Is it really an improvement to claim you broke the law because the Taliban told you to do so? The claim also doesn't make a lot of sense when looked at from the Taliban's perspective:

Then there's this previous AP scoop.

Apparently we're supposed to believe that the Taliban fed and guarded Bergdahl for 5 years, moving him constantly to avoid being rescued, but if the deal leaked a week early they would just shoot him. Never mind the fact that the outlines of this deal have been in the news media since 2012. In fact, the deal was revived during a phone interview between a senior Taliban spokesman and the Associated Press last year:

The proposal to trade U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl for the Taliban detainees was made by senior Taliban spokesman Shaheen Suhail in response to a question during a phone interview with The Associated Press from the militants' newly opened political office in Doha, the capital of the Gulf nation of Qatar.

The latest Obama administration excuse does not seem particularly credible on its face. At a minimum they are going to need to provide a lot more detail about this alleged threat and why, after five years and with so much on the line, it was suddenly credible.


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