Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) says the Obama administration finalized the transfer of the Gitmo 5 for Bowe Bergdahl the day before the exchange took place and only “knew an hour ahead of time where it was going to take place.”
As Durbin said this, a House panel “overwhelming backed a measure barring U.S. funds for the transfer of detainees from the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, amid the congressional outcry over the swap.”
According to the Associated Press, the ban on U.S. funds passed by a vote of 33-13.
Durbin defended the decision to keep lawmakers in the dark, arguing that the law on notification “doesn’t square with reality.” He said everything happened so fast there was no time to inform lawmakers without putting Bergdahl’s life at risk.
In the week since Bergdahl’s freedom was secured, “lawmakers have raised questions about whether Bergdahl was a deserter and whether the United States gave up too much for his freedom.” House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has also expressed disappointment that “he was kept in the dark about the prisoner agreement with the Taliban.”
Although the White House did not inform Congress of the then-pending swap, they did have time to inform about 90 staffers in the executive branch. As Bizpacreview puts it: “So, White House aides just out of college knew about the decision to exchange five dangerous terrorist leaders for suspected deserter Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, but elected members of Congress were kept in the dark.”
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