Betting is for fools, but if I were a betting man I’d say the White House apology for brokering the prisoner exchange to gain the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl won’t quiet the Capitol Hill critics.
To be honest, I don’t blame congressional critics for being ticked off.
The White House has called it an “oversight” that it didn’t notify congressional leaders in advance of the release and the exchange. Officials issued the apology to Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein. House Speaker John Boehner says it’s more than an oversight; he believes the White House knew Congress would kill the deal. I’ll leave it mind readers to determine whether Boehner knows what he’s talking about.
Still, the deal has enraged members of both parties in both houses of Congress.
A 2013 law required congressional notification of such activity. The White House had said initially that it did tell some lawmakers that a deal was in the works. Now, though, the White House is singing a different tune.
Here’s another question that needs asking: Did you or did you not talk to Capitol Hill about this deal in advance?
Do I think a crime was committed here? No. I think we have instead a terrible political miscalculation that well could explode all over the president, his national security team and the Pentagon.
A deeper concern for me is whether Sgt. Bergdahl deserted his post. Does that preclude his country seeking his release from the Taliban? No. It does raise questions that need some air-tight answers.
Did he walk away from his post? Did his doing so put his comrades at undue risk? Did he go willingly with the Taliban when they captured him?
Offering an apology might assuage a tiny bit of anger among some lawmakers. However, if they have a role to play under the law in these kinds of warfare “transactions,” they have reason to demand some answers.
Moreover, Sgt. Bergdahl has some serious questions awaiting him when he gets home.