Betrayal: The Obama regime still insists that releasing the top command of our enemy was all about saving Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. But several reports from 2012 reveal that it was secretly negotiating the Taliban Five’s release without Bergdahl.
Now that the Army has filed desertion charges against Bergdahl, the administration is under increasing pressure to justify the bad deal. Astoundingly, it’s sticking to its story that President Obama only freed the high-risk Gitmo detainees to free a “POW.”
“This was about bringing home an individual that had served his country,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said last week about the 2014 swap.
But IBD has uncovered a series of credible reports from 2012 – as well as a transcript of a candid press conference by then-Afghan President Hamid Karzai – that show the White House originally wanted to give up the Taliban commanders under just one condition: that the Taliban open a political office in Qatar “to conduct peace negotiations.” It was Qatar that ended up taking the prisoners.
Bergdahl, who walked off his post and into the arms of the Taliban in June 2009, wasn’t even part of the negotiation back then. The original deal was a one-sided release, naked any trade for a “POW” or “hostage” or soldier who allegedly had served “with honor and distinction.”
Consider this timeline:
January 2009: Obama signs executive order calling for Gitmo to be shuttered within a year, while his national security team considers if the five Taliban leaders are safe for release.
2011: White House and State Department officials open secret talks with the Taliban in Germany and the Persian Gulf to discuss their release from Gitmo as part of “peace talks.”
Jan. 3, 2012: The Taliban announce they are prepared to open a political office in Qatar to conduct peace negotiations in exchange for the release of the Taliban commanders. (“The releases would be to reciprocate for Tuesday’s announcement,” according to “The Guardian.”)
April 2012: Working with the White House, Karzai sends delegation of Afghan government officials to Gitmo to interview the Taliban prisoners and secure their oath to cut ties with al-Qaida.
(“On the issue of the release of the Taliban prisoners from Guantanamo, we are fully in support of that,” Karzai says during a July 9, 2012, visit to Japan. “If they wish to go to Qatar, we want them rejoined with their families.”)
Karzai signed on to the deal because he thought it would buy peace and goodwill with the Taliban, which threatened to retake Afghanistan.
The original Taliban Five deal fell apart as Obama met stiff resistance from the U.S. intelligence community. And it proved too politically radioactive to sell to Congress. It was only after U.S. intelligence shot down his amnesty plan as too risky that Obama conjured up the Bergdahl swap.
Truth is, Obama used Bergdahl as a pretext for doing what he always sought to do – empty out Gitmo, national security be damned. The freed Taliban leaders were among the nearly 40 prisoners at Gitmo classified as “indefinite detainees” – too dangerous to release. To shutter the Cuban prison, Obama first had to whittle down that list, starting with the Taliban Five.
His scheme is working as planned, as one dangerous detainee after another is freed on the argument that the Taliban Five set a precedent for the release of others. The recent release of al-Qaida assassin Muhammad al-Zahrani, for one, was based on that precedent. “We have demonstrated that Mr. al-Zahrani represents a lower threat than the (Taliban) detainees that have been released,” his defense team argued.
Obama also had several chances to rescue Bergdahl on the ground, but he reportedly ignored them all. Why? He wanted a terrorist trade to help close down Gitmo. Don’t be fooled: This is what Bergdahl was all about.