June 1st, 2014
04:17 PM ET
3 months ago

Members of Congress waiting for briefing on Bergdahl release

(CNN) – More than 24 hours after Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's release, Rep. Buck McKeon, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said he still has not been briefed by administration officials on the swap.

The California Republican plans to hold hearings about the Bergdahl exchange, he told CNN Chief Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash on Sunday.

"We're getting our information - other than a very brief notification–we're getting most of our information now from the media," he said in an exclusive interview on “Newsroom.”

Bergdahl, who had been held by Afghan militants for the past five years, was handed over to U.S. control Saturday in a prisoner swap brokered by Qatar that included the release of five detainees from Guantanamo Bay.

McKeon said his staff was notified by the Defense Department Saturday after the exchange took place, but he pointed to a law that requires the administration to notify Congress 30 days before detainees are released from the facilities at Guantanamo Bay.

"They're not following the law. They know they're not following the law," he said. "It's been a day now, and they still haven't told us details."

When President Barack Obama signed the law in December, he added a "signing statement" to the bill, meaning he would override restrictions - such as the 30-day notification - if he felt that such action fell within his constitutional authority as President.

Such signing statements have been used by previous presidents, including George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

White House National Security Adviser Susan Rice said Sunday that the "acute urgency" of Bergdahl's declining health justified the administration's decision to execute the swap without telling Congress.

"It was determined that it was necessary and appropriate not to adhere to the 30-day notification requirement, because it would have potentially meant that the opportunity to get Sgt. Bergdahl would have been lost," she said on CNN's "State of the Union with Candy Crowley."

McKeon, like other members of Congress have said this weekend, wants more details on the assurances given to the United States that the detainees will not fight Americans again.

"These five guys are all known to have had - most of them, if not all of them, because we haven't received the information that we should have received - have blood on their hands. American blood," McKeon said. "To think that they would not re-enter the fight is ludicrous."

McKeon said the latest development marks another dent in the relationship between the White House and Congress.

"I just think their credibility in Congress and in the nation – -and around the world - is slipping greatly," he said.


Filed under: Afghanistan • Buck Mckeon • Congress • Guantanamo Bay • President Obama • Terrorism
soundoff (38 Responses)
  1. croaton

    King Obama- I don't need no stinking congress.

    June 2, 2014 06:24 am at 6:24 am |
  2. Get Real

    Richard in Houston

    Oh please! Another investigation. You want to throw a fit because you were not in the room when the descion was made. Grow up puts some big boy pants on and go to work.

    YEAH, and your GROUP acted the same way during the BUSH years, POT MEET KETTLE.

    June 2, 2014 06:46 am at 6:46 am |
  3. Gurgyl

    Get rid off all republican trash form this nation, evil goes away. Those terrorists are Americans in the form of Republicans–know it.

    June 2, 2014 07:10 am at 7:10 am |
  4. sifto

    When is the honorable marine imprisoned in mexico going to be released?

    June 2, 2014 07:26 am at 7:26 am |
  5. Thomas

    Why is it when we invade another country , the regime we support always ends up moving to California ?

    June 2, 2014 07:27 am at 7:27 am |
  6. hkirwin

    Richard in Houston

    Oh please! Another investigation. You want to throw a fit because you were not in the room when the descion was made. Grow up puts some big boy pants on and go to work.
    ========================

    be honest Richard, if the shoe was on the other foot you would be throwing a big hissy fit. Can you say hypocrite three times fast?

    June 2, 2014 07:32 am at 7:32 am |
  7. hkirwin

    Ali

    Hey if Obama saves an American he's bad, if terrorist kills an American he's bad. Desperate Republicans once more.
    =====================

    Now lets put it into context. He had five years to do it, but waited until the VA scandal broke. Six good soldiers died trying to save a deserter. Five of the worst terrorist were traded for a deserter. How many more lives will that release cost us? now every American becomes a target for hostage taking. Where is the good Ricky?????

    June 2, 2014 07:35 am at 7:35 am |
  8. Bob

    Ali, it not desperate republicans it about a Obama not following the laws. The five terrorist should have been handed over in a body bag. This deserter should be court martial.

    June 2, 2014 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  9. Dean

    Obama trades five terrorists for one deserter. Can this adminstration do anything right?

    June 2, 2014 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  10. Anonymous

    Perspective:
    Not even a Hallmark card

    “(President Obama) has never contacted us,” Sgt. Bergdahl’s mother, Jani Bergdahl, told the New York Times in a May 13 story. “We haven’t gotten a Hallmark card, we haven’t gotten a note signed by an aide, nothing. Is it because he thinks we’re not Democrats?”

    June 2, 2014 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  11. vikingwoman

    The negative propaganda never ceases! Did this man not get the part of 'window of opportunity'? It's disturbing to listen to the GOTP anti- Obama machine regurgitating negativity on a daily basis, but it's mind boggling to find fault in bringing home an American hero!!

    June 2, 2014 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  12. Rudy NYC

    Anyone who tells you that the President exceeded his constitutional authority is either lying or misinformed. It sounds like the White House is characterizing this as a P.O.W. exchange. Republicans don't like it, which is too bad for them. This is exactly the role that the Commander-In-Chief executes. I don't see it written anywhere in the U.S. Constitution anything about a Congress-In-Chief being charge of military policy.

    June 2, 2014 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  13. Lynda/Minnesota

    "The California Republican plans to hold hearings about the Bergdahl exchange, he told CNN Chief Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash on Sunday."

    Hell, why not hold two or three hearings. Ought to make Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl feel warm and fuzzy when he's back in the good old U. S. of A.

    June 2, 2014 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
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