Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Morgan Griffith on the Taliban Five

From Congressman Griffith's E-Newsletter:

Bergdahl and the Taliban 5
The House Armed Services Committee (HASC) last week released a report pertaining to the Administration’s swap of five Taliban prisoners in order to return to the United States a man who, under the best interpretation, walked away from his post – Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.  According to HASC Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-TX), “Our report finds that the Administration clearly broke the law in not notifying Congress of the transfer.”

“Leading up to the transfer, DOD officials misled Congress as to the status of negotiations,” Chairman Thornberry also said.

For example, talking points devised by the Department of Defense (DOD), the State Department, and the National Security Council advised officials to say they were “not involved in active negotiations with the Taliban” based on the dubious justification that negotiations with the Taliban were taking place through Qatari intermediaries.

Disturbingly, at least three of the “Taliban 5” terrorists included in this prisoner swap have been in contact with terrorist organizations.  One terrorist apparently attempted to rejoin.  The degree of contact for the other two is somewhat uncertain, but the contact has encouraged terrorist organizations.

Last year, I joined 248 of my colleagues – including 22 Democrats – in supporting H.Res.644, which condemned the Administration’s transfer of the Taliban 5.

Unfortunately, many Congressmen including myself may read future DOD statements with a grain of salt.  While I want to be supportive of our defense operations, I do not want to be misled.  I don’t think the American people want to be misled either.