Senator: White House apologized for not notifying Congress of prisoner swap
June 3rd, 2014
02:12 PM ET
6 months ago

Senator: White House apologized for not notifying Congress of prisoner swap

Washington (CNN) – The chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee said a top White House national security official called her Monday night and apologized for not providing Congress with 30 days’ notice, as is required by law, before transferring five Guantanamo detainees in the recent swap for prisoner of war Bowe Bergdahl.

“It’s very disappointing that there was not a level of trust to justify alerting us to that,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, told reporters. “I had a call from the White House last night, from (Deputy National Security Adviser) Tony Blinken, apologizing for it.”

Feinstein said it was her impression from the call that the lack of a notification was an oversight on the part of the White House, although she said Blinken may not have used that exact word.

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Feinstein said the top Democrats and Republicans on the national security committees on Capitol Hill had discussed the possibility of a prisoner swap in 2011 “when it was part of a bigger proposal,” but “there were very strong views and they were virtually unanimous against the trade.”

Asked if that Congressional opposition could have been the reason the White House didn’t notify Congress, Feinstein said yes.

“Yeah, it could be. But the White House is pretty unilateral about what they want to do when they want to do it. I think the notification to us is important and I think it would have been a much better thing to do because you do try to work together,” she said.

House Speaker John Boehner released a statement that touched on the talks from 2011 and 2012 with Congress, saying serious questions were raised to the administration when the possibility of such an exchange was brought up.

"Unfortunately, the questions and concerns we had were never satisfactorily answered and they remain today," he said.

Boehner said the administration "provided assurances" in late 2011, early 2012 and again in 2013 that talks with Congress over an exchange would resume if the possibility became credible again.

"There was every expectation that the administration would re-engage with Congress, as it did before, and the only reason it did not is because the administration knew it faced serious and sober bipartisan concern and opposition," he argued.

The speaker added that he supported calls by House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon to hold hearings on the issue.


Filed under: Afghanistan • Dianne Feinstein • Guantanamo
soundoff (46 Responses)
  1. Rick McDaniel

    Apologies are not acceptable for breaking the law.

    Ask any judge.

    June 3, 2014 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  2. rs

    What a bit of insanity. Did the GOP forget about Bush's famous signing statements on bills he signed- that gave him the "right" to ignore the law? Guess what? Mr. Obama added a signing statement to the bill requiring him to notify Congress. Can you imagine the mess Congress would have made of this particular negotiation? Cruz, Paul, Bachmann and all the other members of the nut house pontificating on and on about such a trade. The guy would have died of old age with the Taliban.

    But you have to just love the GOP- politicize a POW swap, but claim that they "care" about veterans.

    Watch their heads explode when the 78 POWs approved to leave Gitmo hit the road.

    June 3, 2014 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  3. sonny chapman

    Never slight a Congressman ! There will be Hell to pay !!

    June 3, 2014 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  4. bill

    It's time for obumbles to go. Holder too.

    June 3, 2014 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  5. Turdgyl

    ACA is law. 16 Hillary yes!

    June 3, 2014 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  6. Thomas

    Rick McDaniel
    Watch A Florida Judge Beat Up A Lawyer In The MIDDLE Of Trial.

    Apologies are not acceptable for breaking the law.

    Ask any judge.

    June 3, 2014 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  7. Warren

    Move on Please

    June 3, 2014 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  8. really??

    Does anyone actually believe that Feinstein's hair is actually brown?

    June 3, 2014 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  9. CryBabies

    President " Sweet Baby James" Obama... " I'm a steamroller baby....and I'll roll all over you"

    June 3, 2014 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  10. NameFrank Deery

    Obama should be impeached for violating
    laws related to terrorist groups, especially when the price is 5 Top Taliban marshalls
    for an obvious deserter! This is infamous, and Feinstein should have taken this lousy
    President on, but did not. She was a corageous Mayor here in SF, and she is nearing 80. Why codfle this disasterous Administrarion, Dianne??? All about Him, not
    the nation-A Mess! Do something!

    June 3, 2014 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  11. drake mallard

    the Reagan administration’s talks with Iran aimed at winning the release of U.S. hostages held in Lebanon. in the Iran case, the United States was negotiating with a sovereign government. So it was OK.

    How about in 2007, when the U.S. negotiated with Sunni insurgent leaders in Iraq to get them to stop bombing U.S. troops and join the fight against al-Qaeda in Iraq? We bribed them. We paid them off. And if you Google the statements of various U.S. officials back in 2005-2006, they were insulted when the U.S. media referred to the Sunnis as insurgents. No, those officials insisted, they’re terrorists!

    June 3, 2014 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  12. Bill from GA

    Rick McDaniel – " Apologies are not acceptable for breaking the law.

    Ask any judge."

    Now I know why W-cheney never apologized for the illegal invasion of Iraq, and illegal torture of prisoners of war.

    Wouldn't of mattered anyway. Got it.

    June 3, 2014 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  13. Peace

    Oh! please, what a contradiction? Feinstein said they called her and apologise at the same time she is saying that she had an impression of that sought! Which is which? Did they apologise or it was how she thought?

    June 3, 2014 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  14. Bill from GA

    bill – " It's time for obumbles to go. Holder too. "

    Are you proposing a coup?

    We, the people of the USA, elected President Obama. We'll keep him, thank you.

    (And that's more than can be said of W's first term.)

    June 3, 2014 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  15. Lizzie

    WARSAW, Poland — The United States is preparing to boost its military presence in Europe and at a cost of up to $1 billion, President Barack Obama said Tuesday, as tensions in the region simmer over Russia’s aggressive actions in Ukraine. Standing with Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski, Obama said the U.S. plans to send more military equipment and rotate additional American...
    And all that after the President stopped the missile defense system

    June 3, 2014 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  16. smith

    This whole mess stinks to no end. There needs to be an investigation into this matter. All the evidence, witnesses, and facts point to Bergdahl going awol. He should face a court martial.

    June 3, 2014 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  17. Tampa Tim

    Turdgyl – As a RWNJ poster, you chose an excellent name. 295 million Americans now have insurance with no help from the train wreck party of government shutdown.

    June 3, 2014 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  18. bill

    repentence is not sorry you got caught

    June 3, 2014 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  19. Chris-E...al

    Darn must be a full moon ?

    June 3, 2014 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  20. Silence DoGood

    Hand wringing GOP:
    "Why doesn't the president just acknowledge what he did?"
    He did.
    "That's not good enough!"

    June 3, 2014 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  21. Silence DoGood

    @NameFrank Deery
    Obama should be impeached for violating
    laws related to terrorist groups, especially when the price is 5 Top Taliban marshalls
    for an obvious deserter!
    ------------
    In my country of laws (US), a person is not a deserter until he has his trial.
    Where do you live?
    Standard conservative rant: Make all the assumptions to make our president look bad. Then ignore if they don't come true. Or make up new ones.

    June 3, 2014 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  22. Marcus (from...?)

    NameFrank Deery – 'Obama should be impeached for violating laws related to terrorist groups, especially when the price is 5 Top Taliban marshalls for an obvious deserter!'

    There you go again, the hypocrisy is quite obvious...
    Obama violate the law but you don't when you cry foul when a man not yet proven as a deserter (innocent until PROVEN guilty) is helped to stop being the last one 'left behind'.
    Obama cannot act based on his opnions if it does violate the law, which he can't obviously (and why hasn't the GOP took it to the appropriate level yet?). But a man's freedom should be denied because of YOUR opinion of him.
    Double standard.

    June 3, 2014 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  23. Sniffit

    Typical CNN reporting. Did you call Blinken or were you afraid that he'd tell you she's mischaracterizing what he said?

    June 3, 2014 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  24. Bill from GA

    Lizzie – " And all that after the President stopped the missile defense system "

    The missile defense system was allegedly to protect us from 'rogue nations' such as Iran. Another Bush Lie. It was ended because the lie was so obvious.

    it was projected to cost $40 BILLION.

    June 3, 2014 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  25. Sniffit

    Looks like Bill O'Reilly finished his turn deepthroating the Duck Dynasty stars today, cuz he's now out and about attacking Bergdahl's father for "looking like a muslim."

    Hey, Bill-O, at least he does think like a fundamentalist/extremist Muslim. Same can't be said for your fundamentalist Christian reality TV fakers.

    Conservatives truly have no shame and literally are so angry about a black man being POTUS that they they've slowly grown bolder and bolder and bolder over the past 6 years with their racist, bigoted rhetoric. Dude "looks like a muslim" because he grew a beard for 5 years as a show of solidarity with his son while mourning his son's military captivity. Where was Faux with the "looks like a muslim" comparisons when the Red Sox won the Series last year? Where's there "looks like a muslim" slander towards religious fundamentalist whackjobs like the Duck Dynasty idiots...who grew their beards and fake their redneckness for ratings? It's disgusting that they'd attack the family just because they're so desperate to get at Obama. let me on your show Bill-O...let's see what happens with you in arm's reach.

    June 3, 2014 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
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