Where’s the Logic? White House Didn’t Tell Congress about Bergdahl Trade Because it Wanted to Avoid Leaks … But 90 White House Staffers Were Informed in Advance
White House officials contend President Obama did not inform Congress about his deal to trade five known terrorists for deserter U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl due to security concerns.
If a member of Congress leaked something before the trade was done, Obama was reportedly afraid that Bergdahl might be killed
But at a classified briefing to House members Monday, White House staffers revealed that up to 90 people in the Obama administration knew of the pending deal, negating any true concern about secrecy, Newsmax reports.
The news comes as the Armed Services Committee continues to look into the trade, with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel set to testify tomorrow, and additional hearings on the way.
Committee Chairman Buck McKeon said the revelation about those who knew of the Bergdahl deal was “disturbing,” and he’s demanding a list of names of those who were in-the-know.
“My question to them was, if you don’t know who knew, then how could you – if a leak had happened and the sergeant had been killed – how could you go back and find out who leaked?” McKeon said, according to the news site.
It’s a good question. Here’s another: Did President Obama break the law by not informing Congress of the trade?
“A law passed by Congress last year and signed by Obama requires a 30-day notice before any prisoners associated with terrorist attacks against the United States are released from the military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba,” Newsmax reports.
Democrat Rep. Adam Schiff, of California, told CNN he believes Obama had the constitutional authority under Article 2 to act unilaterally, but it would have been “far wiser” for the president to at least inform lawmakers.
“And the fact that there were so many people within the know in the administration doesn’t help their case,” Schiff told CNN. “It didn’t sit very well with those of us who were listening at the briefing.”
According to Newsmax, “Schiff echoed a growing number of Democrats unhappy with Obama. The National Journal’s Ron Fournier says he has been receiving a number of emails from Democrats saying they don’t like the way Obama is handling things. The controversial Bergdahl release is just the latest issue to set them off.”
Democrat Rep. Gene Green, of Texas, said that the White House could have minimized the controversy surrounding the Bergdahl deal had the president at least contacted the heads of national security committees.
“Congress does not like to be left out of the loop,” Green told Reuters.
CNN reported that White House officials at the classified briefing Monday said it was Defense Secretary Hagel who gave final authorization for the Bergdahl deal, not President Obama.
“McKeon speculated that blowback on the decision from both parties in Congress may have something to do with the new information that Hagel OK’d the deal,” Newsmax reports.
“I don’t know who’s in charge or who’s making the decision,” McKeon said.