When is breaking the law not breaking the law?
When the Obama administration says it is not - no matter what anyone else rules.
Thursday, the General Accounting Office, a non-partisan agency, said
the Pentagon broke the law twice during its trade earlier this year for
the return of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.
For those who have
forgotten the story, on June 30, 2009, Sgt. Bergdahl reportedly left his
base in Afghanistan without his weapon and was promptly taken prisoner
by the Taliban. An ongoing investigation is attempting to decide if he
was deserting at that time and later aided the Taliban forces.
several attempts and years of trying, the Obama administration brokered
a deal with the kidnappers to exchange five Taliban leaders held
captive at the prison at Guantanamo and nearly $1 million for the
The GAO report stated the trade, as it transpired, was against the law.
our view, the meaning of the law is clear and unambiguous,” said the
report. “In our view the Department of Defense dismissed the
significance of the express language.”
At its core, the GAO said the law was broken on two fronts:
The proper 30-day notice was not given to congressional leaders of the
trade. Notice began after the trade had been consummated.
2) The money transfer broke the law by using funds to transfer detainees from Guatanamo Bay to foreign control.
confronted with the report, DOD officials said they believed the trade
for Bergdahl was legal and the Department of Justice confirmed the
We believe the Department of Defense and the Obama
administration were correct in attempting every avenue to return a
soldier to the U.S. We believe that responsibility is part of the
government’s pact with every man and woman who puts on a U.S. armed
Further, we believe the 30-day notification period
is ridiculously long when dealing with the terrorist forces around the
world today. Information and knowledge travels too fast for that long a
period of time.
However, we also believe laws are put in place for
a reason - either to protect U.S. citizens or to protect the interests
of the country.
In this case, we believe the Obama administration
could have taken a few minutes to contact members of the intelligence
oversight committees, explain the time constraint they were under, and
then completed the trade. That attempt would have at least answered the
intent of the law. It would be hard to understand any elected official
vigorously attacking the decision if the effort had been made.
the Obama administration decided the ends justified the means and the
laws be damned. With the transfer of the funds, our leaders also told
the world we are a country who abides by the rule of law - until the
laws are inconvenient and then we are just as willing to break them as
any third world, banana republic government.
Unfortunately, breaking laws that are in the way appears to be the pattern with the current U.S. leadership.
are happy a U.S. soldier has been returned home safely from enemy
control. We also hope the investigation is concluded so we can
understand what happened during Bergdahl’s capture.
We just wish the Obama administration had at least attempted to perform the trade legally.