In an interview that aired on Tuesday’s “AC360” on CNN, White House press secretary Jay Carney defended the White House’s position on the deal that resulted in the release of U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.
According to Carney, the rule that the United States doesn’t negotiate with terrorists or any other nefarious parties doesn’t trump the “Leave No Man Behind” rule the U.S. military observes.
Partial transcript as follows:
COOPER: I understand the imperative of not leaving anyone behind, but at the same time, can it still be said that the United States does not negotiate with terrorists?
CARNEY: It can be, Anderson, because when you put on the uniform for the United States and you go and fight on behalf of your country in a foreign land at war and you’re taken captive by the enemy, the principle that we don’t leave our men and women behind doesn’t have an asterisk attached to it depending on who is holding you. The principle is inviolate and that’s what we pursued here.
COOPER: So, even if it was al Qaeda, there would be negotiations?
CARNEY: But that’s not the case here. And what I’m saying is he was a prisoner in an armed conflict and we were engaged in an effort for five years to try to recover him. As I think an admiral said on TV today, I think he said when one of your shipmates goes overboard, you go get them. You don’t ask whether he jumped or was pushed or he fell, you get him first and find out.
As for notifying Congress, Carney made a distinction between notification and asking for permission.
“A notification is a notification,” Carney said. “It’s not a request for permission. And obviously there are diverse views on a matter like this, which is I concede, very complex. There are competing imperatives. What was a fact is that in this case, an issue that had been worked on for a long time reached a point where there was an opportunity to secure Sgt. Bergdahl’s release.”
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