A year-long investigation by the House Armed Services Committee has concluded that the Obama administration broke the law in swapping five Taliban members for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl — and went out of its way to hide the negotiations as they were happening.
The report said the administration broke a law requiring it to give members of Congress 30-days advance notice of any detainee transfers from the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, where the senior Taliban leaders were held.
It also found that it misled reporters and lawmakers about a potential prisoner exchange. Congress was instead notified just hours before the May 2014 transfer took place.
Bergdahl, who is facing charges of desertion, had left his base in Afghanistan in 2009, and was subsequently captured and held hostage for five years.
“At the time, there were rumors that on-again, off-again talks about a prisoner exchange, which had broken down several years earlier, might be underway again, but the administration repeatedly suggested to reporters and to Congress that nothing significant was going on,” the report found.
The report also found that the administration also kept some defense officials who would normally work on transfers out of the loop. The administration has said it feared a leak of the swap would scuttle the deal and could endanger Bergdahl’s life.
“Our report finds that the Administration clearly broke the law in not notifying Congress of the transfer,” said the committee’s Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas).
Read more: The Hill
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