Skip to comments.Inside the White House's Decision to Free Bergdahl
Posted on 06/04/2014 6:40:39 PM PDT by kristinn
President Barack Obama, it seemed like the right thing to do, according to officials in his administration: Release five Taliban detainees at Guantanamo Bay prison in return for Bowe Bergdahl, the only known American prisoner of war in Afghanistan.
As a political firestorm engulfs the White House over that deal, Reuters interviews with current and former Obama administration officials involved in the negotiations, along with U.S. lawmakers, reveal how a close-knit circle in the Obama administration pursued the plan despite intense discord in the past over similar proposals.
The White House was ultimately persuaded to go ahead, in part, after Qatar agreed to take the Taliban detainees and said it would allow the United States to track the five men in the Gulf emirate. Under that arrangement, the United States installed extensive surveillance equipment to monitor their movements and communications, the officials said.
The deal, however, has caused an uproar among Republicans in Congress, who have questioned both the secrecy of the prisoner swap and the wisdom of freeing five Taliban prisoners. Some of Bergdahl's former comrades have also accused him of deserting his post before his capture by the Taliban in June 2009. The Pentagon has declined to comment on those allegations.
While they were prepared for some political blowback, Obama administration officials said they felt the outcry would have been fiercer if in six months' time, as the United States wraps up its mission in Afghanistan, it emerged that Obama had missed an opportunity to secure Bergdahl's freedom.
(Excerpt) Read more at reuters.com ...
Greta was hinting at it this evening.
The political people pursued the swap dispute intense internal discord, huh?
Did that discord include the Kabul Chief of Station..?
If it did, how utterly amazing that he got caught up in that most unfortunate subsequent paperwork contretemps, in which he was OUTED, huh..?
Hey, but I’m sure ValJar the NightStalker would NEVAR do that deliberately, riiiiiight?
OH NO WAY..!!!
It seems the Zero administration has become completely divorced from reality.
Looks like all the members of the Ministry of Praise and Promotion are in full spin mode. Politico, Rooters, all trying to soften things up.
“Close-knit circle” = Jarrett
The real goal here was to set the stage for a "peace treaty" with the Taliban, whereby they would agree to participate in the Afghanistani government.
This would be a "diplomatic triumph" for the White House.
Bowe Bergdahl was just the screen to conceal the real chess move, a way to sell the Guantanamo release to the public.
That didn't work so well.
Speaking of desertion Obama has most certainly deserted the Congress of the United States.
"A close-knit political group that continued to pursue a plan, despite intense internal discord "
Does it sound SORT OF LIKE the night things went to hell in Benghazi..?
The similarities of both:
1. The political people know the plan details ahead of time
2. The operations people are playing catch-up
3. The WH political people want to push forward for some unvoiced objective
4. The operations people think it sounds like rapidly evolving disaster getting bigger
It really sounds like this a smaller re-run of what we already went through.
Sounds like the WH is simply doubling-down, suuuuure that THIS time they'll hit the Lotto.
Notice the references to the freed high-risk terrorists; i.e., detainees, prisoners...
THE KENYAN CANNOT UNDERSTAND ... BUT WHAT ABOUT THE OTHERS???
For Obama, it’s all about one thing: Getting payback on America for beating his hero-nation the USSR in the Cold War.
We have never charged these Talib with either war or international crimes. They are detainees and their detention can only last as long as we conduct direct combat operations in Afghanistan.
3 of them were detained in Pakistan, 2 by the Northern Alliance that didn’t represent the government of Afghanistan either.
That’s the law. We would have to let them go anyway when we cease combat ops in Afghanistan next year.
They are the very worst Talib and we can’t punish them. It is up to the government of Afghanistan to do so.
We have been negotiating their release since before Bergdahl deserted. We moved their families to Qatar two years ago last December. At that time they were to be kept in Qatar for two years. That has been pushed out to let them leave Qatar as we are leaving Afghanistan.
Bergdahl was collateral, we didn’t want him back. He was originally sold by the Afghan Taliban to the Haqqani’s. They moved him about to protect themselves from drone strikes. We did find out where he was at times and that is when very effective drone strikes took place.
So the Haqqani’s realized he wasn’t much of a shield. But....no chance the Haqqan’s gave him up without a ransom. By some secretive path there was money paid for Bergdahl.
The only equation that adds up is the reinforcement of the Taliban by the return of major leadership. This deal is either profoundly stupid or a deliberate attempt to support our enemy.
Soon after it was shown that they were wandering about Qatar. When asked why this was the administration said to the effect "Trust us, but don't ask any more questions."
Now we find out that the real deal was to allow them to wander about Qatar while being secretly monitored.
Now the terrorists are wandering about Qatar and no longer are being "secretly" monitored, but openly monitored.
So either the Whitehouse leaked more info about the secret monitoring, or the press released secret information about the monitoring.
These terrorists should have been tried, convicted, and executed for their crimes by now. But since they were released in the fashion they were, it would have been nice if the Whitehouse had kept its collective lips shut regarding the "secret" monitoring.
How many missteps are they going to make on this one case alone? How many crimes have been committed?
If they just wanted Bergdahl as a boy toy why didn’t we trade him for Justin Bieber or an entire boy band?
1. They expected people to be unhappy with their (not Obama's) decision to release the Taliban leaders.
2. They had hoped that the people's approval of Obama would increase because he (not the White House) secured the return of an American POW.
The first thing that stands out here from their wording is their passive acknowledgment that the bad of releasing the prisoners outweighs the good of the return of the POW. This means that the release of Taliban prisoners was the overall objective here and that the return of the POW was secondary.
So now it comes down to timing. What event really triggered the release of the Taliban prisoners? Why now? Why not 6 months ago or 6 months in the future? What what Obama trying to achieve by releasing them? The answer lies in Obama's rush trip to Afghanistan last week in the wake of the VA scandal. Obama shows up in Kabul and asks that Karzai come out to Baghram to meet with him. Karzai refuses. Obama takes it as a personal slight. So Obama figures the best way to hurt Karzai is to release these Taliban commanders that can bring about his overthrow. Yes, Obama is really that petty. The Narcissist-in-Chief is perfectly willing to screw over half the world to exact revenge for some affront to his ego.
Which now leaves us with the traitorous deserter. His whole point of going to Afghanistan in the first place was to mend his falling approval ratings with regard to his status as Commander-in-Chief in the midst of the VA scandal. And since Karzai slighted him, he figured he could make up for it by garnering the release of a POW in order to show the military that he really did have their back despite the treatment of veterans at the hands of George W. Bush as these hospitals, which of course he learned about only by watching the news.
So Obama saw this as a win-win himself from his own me-me-me-me viewpoint. He gets to show Karzai who's really boss. And he gets to show everyone what a friend to the military he really is.
Yup, and they all follow the same script with the talking points and the wording nuances.
BO knows he owns this country and he likes to rub in in once in a while.
Things are going pear shaped for Obama. Bowe is now in a military hospital in Germany. No reports on his condition are forthcoming. It would be in the best interest for the administration if he never made it out. Think about it.
I believe there were two reasons: Distract from the VA scandal, which was getting legs, and have an excuse to release “Obama’s Five.”
Aren’t the detainees at Gitmo “enemy combatants” and thus not POW’s captured from an enemy nation (like Afghanistan)?
TOTAL CRAP! You don't risk soldiers lives over a deserter, unless you are trying to apprehend him and stop the damage he is causing.
I think that makes a lot of sense. I like it a lot. I had a companion theory as well -— I think Obama also wanted an excuse to release the baddest dudes at Gitmo and get that out of the way to make it easier later to later release the rest of the prisoners and close the place down
That also makes sense, and fits well with this latest report that he is planning to release a sixth.
btw Anderson Cooper bemoaned the video somebody took of B. Obama working out, said he feels sorry for the president that it is being shown. Let's just say Obama did not look impressive.
HAHA, Obama knows what he's doing.
The five are all CIA agents who replaced the originals.
They all are on CIA payroll to find the nests.
Valerie Plame (Wilson) trained them for this mission,
SHHHH, keep it hush, hush, the terrorist might be lurking here.
They should never have gone to Gitmo. They should not have lived that long. And our soldiers would have come home long ago.
That is sort of like giving Obama a Nobel Peace Prize before he launched air strikes on Libya, promoted a coup in Egypt, armed and funded rebels in the Syrian Civil War and promoted the coup in the Ukraine.
Oh Lord! The cat’s out of the bag now!
I guess I may as well mention that story about how those detainees were the easiest to turn at Gitmo. They cooperated with their interrogators immediately. They didn’t need water-boarding, just a few Penthouse magazines, some cable tv and extra pilaf.
This guy told me they had to fake scenes of intimidation and punishment so the others wouldn’t get suspicious.
Frankly, I’m not sure about the guy. He was drunk as hell when he told me. So was I, and I forgot his name.
I read that he was, in fact, never classified as a POW.
As an aside, Jake Tapper's book "The Outpost" is about Camp Keating, Bergdahl's post.
They had time to install “extensive surveillance equipment” in Qatar but not time to tell congress.
Yep. And things are being fasttracked. One White House leak said that it is better to have this blowback now rather than in "6 months" as deals are finalized. Six months out are around the time of the mid-term election.
He's pushing for another "Obama Got Osama" moment to rally his base to the polls ("Obama ENDED the war..."). Releasing the rest of the detainees at Gitmo is probably part of the negotiation.
Clinching it was a phone call Obama made two days later, on May 27, with the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, who said Qatari officials had agreed to measures to prevent at least an immediate return to the battlefield of the five Taliban prisoners, the officials said."
Just who did Prince Barry talk to on May 25? Did he really travel to Afghanistan on Memorial Day, of all days, so he could secretly meet face-to-face with Mullah Omar, or one of his deputies?
Sounds to me like Hussein got between a rock and a hard place. Someone told him he better release or else, so he found a way, come hell or high water to get those 5 out of there. It wasn’t to save the deserter,(he could have been part of it all along) it was to save his bony a$% from whomever was threatening him.