June 10th, 2014
12:00 PM ET
5 months ago

Boehner: Americans could die because of Bergdahl swap

Washington (CNN) – House Speaker John Boehner predicted Americans would die because of the swap of five Taliban detainees in exchange for the release of U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

"We are going to pay for this. There is not any doubt in my mind that there are going to be costs, lost lives associated with what came out of this," Boehner told reporters Tuesday in his first public comments since the administration announced the deal.

The speaker argued the administration broke with the practice of not negotiating with terrorists and warned that the deal would trigger severe consequences.

"We have violated that policy, and as a result we have made Americans less safe here and all around the world,” he said.

Boehner blasted the administration for not briefing him and other top congressional leaders about the deal, noting that he was trusted with classified information about the plans to pursue Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.

"Six months before Osama bin laden was taken down I was briefed on this. I was briefed multiple times over the course of the six months. I was given a heads up several days before this happened. So this idea that they couldn’t trust us to not leak things is just not true," the speaker said. He didn’t provide further details about how specific the briefings were, especially the information he got right before the 2011 raid.

Boehner and other top committee leaders on Capitol Hill were told back in 2011 and 2012 that the administration was discussing a possible prisoner swap of five detainees for Bergdahl's release. In those briefings there was bipartisan resistance to the idea. The speaker on Tuesday insisted he never got detailed information on what the administration was negotiating that led to the trade last month.

"I was never briefed about a five to one swap nor were there ever any names. There was a discussion several years ago about efforts to get Bergdahl back, and we are glad that he is back. But I was never briefed on any specific negotiation."

Under the law, the President is required to notify members of Congress 30 days in advance of any release of prisoners from Guantanamo Bay. The administration points to a signing statement that the President added to last year's defense bill as the legal basis for going through with the trade without providing that notice to Congress.

Even some congressional Democrats who agree the President could act without telling Congress believe he should have given leadership a heads up.

"My advice to the President would have been, notify. Pick up the phone," Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland, told reporters Tuesday.

CNN's Paul Courson contributed to this report.


Filed under: Bowe Bergdahl • John Boehner
soundoff (64 Responses)
  1. Marcus (from...?)

    'House Speaker John Boehner predicted Americans would die because of the swap of five Taliban detainees in exchange for the release of U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.'

    Can somebody please list the previous 'predictions' or Mr. Boehner?
    The ones that failed to happen and the ones that did, so we can see the ratio of acuracy of them, ok?
    Otherwise, those predictions carries as much water as the ones about Romney being the POTUS...

    June 10, 2014 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  2. Marcus (from...?)

    Typo alert!
    Can somebody please list the previous 'predictions' OF Mr. Boehner?

    June 10, 2014 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  3. Donna

    Of course people will die. These are five top terrorists, proven murders and war criminals.

    Probably FAR MORE Afghans and especially Afghan women. It doesn't matter one bit to the Obama adminstration though. They got their White House photo op and the VA scandal off the front pages. Obama also got to get rid of 5 Gitmo prisoners. Had set them all lose on our streets if he thought he could get away with it. He wants to shut down Gitmo no matter how many lives it costs. If the Democrats want them all freed so badly, why aren't they volunteering to take them into their states and cities? LA, San Francisco, Chicago, New York, etc. Come on Democrats!

    June 10, 2014 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  4. steve

    People are dieing due to the poor decisions the speaker has made. He is one to talk.

    June 10, 2014 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  5. Tampa Tim

    Americans could die in unnecessary wars, Americans could die without affordable health care, Americans could die because Bush released 500 detainees from Gitmo, Americans could die without climate regulations, Americans could die from hunger in the richest nation in the world. Boehner should stick to what he is good at, drinking.

    June 10, 2014 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  6. Lynda/Minnesota

    Well, OK. Be Afraid ... Be Very Very Afraid ... has got GOPerville this far in politics. Who needs foreign enemies when we have GOPerville ready and willing to spread Taliban talking points?

    SMH in disgust.

    June 10, 2014 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  7. ST

    Boehner as a Speaker must understand that he is now experiencing the consequences/outcome of do nothing Congress. If they were active like any other previous Congress, there was no need of bypassing them. Learn from this one Boehner. you do not work as you are required to do, you are not recognised by anyone, even the Office of the President.

    June 10, 2014 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  8. sonny chapman

    This War on Terrur is starting to look more & more like Vietnam. The American Publican & Cheap Politicians are turning on American Combat Troops.

    June 10, 2014 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  9. Country Above the Parties

    This cry baby, bone head, jelly spine will say anything to boost his standing with Teabaggers, not American people. For the record, Taliban's are NOT Al Queda. they are fighting US in Afghanistan–their country only. Since we are leaving, the war is ending, and they already have been detained for over 10 years without trial, what are we supposed to do? Keep Afghanistan's bad people in our country indefinitely. GOP/TP low blows cheap shots are way getting out of hand.

    June 10, 2014 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  10. Dead Bear

    Again with the Republican hysterics. "AMERICANS ARE GONNA DIE BECAUSE OF THIS!!!" says the drunkard from Cincinnati. And yet he doesn't mind that twice as many Americans died of gun violence here in our own country in the last couple of weeks than in all of the 5 years they were supposedly searching for Bowe Bergdahl. And to further point out his hypocrisy, 10000 times as many Americans die every year because they lack sufficient healthcare but he's got no problem with holding votes every couple of weeks to deny them coverage. How about all the veterans dying because they are waiting to receive care from the very agency your party was proud as punch to cut funding for, Mr. Speaker???... Spare us your selective outrage, John! Now do us all a favor and try not to get fall-down drunk before 5pm today.

    June 10, 2014 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  11. Gurgyl

    --people died because of two unfounded illegal Wars, not because of swap. Nonsense thus guy is talking like drunkard. Lot of these guys are on the streets of Pakistan, yeoman, even in India. What did republicans do? Nothing, other than bickering ever since Obama came to power. I think we need to change WH to presidential Residence. Nonsense these guys are ranting on race basis. Pathetic in 21st century of electronic era.

    June 10, 2014 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  12. Anna

    Boehner's magic ball doesn't posssess much of a track record of success.

    June 10, 2014 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  13. Sniffit

    " The speaker on Tuesday insisted he never got detailed information on what the administration was negotiating that led to the trade last month."'

    Totally believable coming from people who walk out early on intelligence briefings like they did last week. Yawn.

    June 10, 2014 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  14. Rudy NYC

    More Americans have probably died because of the mere existence of Guantanamo's prison. But, hey, Boehner is doing what Republicans do best, which is fear mongering. Never mind the fact that Sen. McCain had proposed this exact deal back in February.

    June 10, 2014 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  15. ProudDem

    This is just silly. Does anyone believe that no one was doing the jobs that these five guys did all this time. Do these five guys have superhuman powers? On the other hand, the Taliban now no longer has a bargaining chip that they can use. I'd call that a win.

    June 10, 2014 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  16. Laverne

    Always doom and gloom with the republicans, be afraid be very afraid! Listen we did not have direct proof that these guys caused 911 so ultimately after holding them for 12 years and winding down the war in Afghanistan. So if they were going to be released because we don't have enough to hold them forever, why not get Bergdahl back? At least we don't have to negotiate with them further. These guys have been locked up for 12 years, what are we so afraid of? I tell you what, we have active enemies who are in a lot better position to kill Americans than the detainees released. Americans are almost acting as if since we had those 5 detainees nothing else was going to happen to Americans. The unfortunate part about the situation is the soldiers who lost their lives looking for him and once Bergdahl is mentally stable that can be dealt with here in the US. If Obama had left the soldier behind, folk would have blamed him for that too, Obama can't win for losing, but I am glad he made the "hard choice" to save him regardless of the naysayers!

    June 10, 2014 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  17. tom l

    Americans could die in unnecessary wars, Americans could die without affordable health care, Americans could die because Bush released 500 detainees from Gitmo, Americans could die without climate regulations, Americans could die from hunger in the richest nation in the world. Boehner should stick to what he is good at, drinking.
    ====
    Do you even realize with your comments that you equated all of your most important issues on the same level with the release of these POW's? So I guess by your admission that you are very concerned about the release, too....

    June 10, 2014 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  18. Denise

    I hope he realizes at his age and health issues with his liver, that too much time in the sun and on the tanning bed is extremely dangerous, particularly when you have a few too many on the yacht!

    June 10, 2014 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  19. Marcus (from...?)

    @ Sniffit " The speaker on Tuesday insisted he never got detailed information on what the administration was negotiating that led to the trade last month."' – Totally believable coming from people who walk out early on intelligence briefings like they did last week. Yawn.'

    Given the fact that they still claim that they didn't read the ACA before it was enacted, and tend to deny that they are the ones on those videos walking out (or even refusing to go to) the meetings in which the law was discussed before being enacted... was it really surprising that Boehner never got briefed?
    Like the guy who misses all the classes of a semester and tries to convince the dean that the teacher never taught him what was in the tests he failed to pass!

    June 10, 2014 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  20. with a grain of salt

    Go home Otis, save you from yourself.

    June 10, 2014 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  21. Denise

    People might be dying as we speak due to yet another shooting in a high school.....

    June 10, 2014 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  22. tom l

    Rudy,
    "More Americans have probably died because of the mere existence of Guantanamo's prison." – Unbelievable but I do agree with you on that

    "But, hey, Boehner is doing what Republicans do best, which is fear mongering" – laughable that you sit there and type that as if dems don't do the same exact thing (or maybe the "fear" of the world burning up and everybody dying because of global warm, errrrrrrrrr climate change doesn't count in your book) Naaah, no fear hear. My goodness are you not self aware.

    "Never mind the fact that Sen. McCain had proposed this exact deal back in February." – quite an interesting claim by you. Where is your proof that it was the exact deal because that has not been reported any where and McCain in his interview confirmed that he made the statement about a possible prisoner swap BUT needed to see the details. Another "fact" by Rudy that isn't a fact whatsoever.

    June 10, 2014 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  23. Denise

    I still say we should swap Pedro and his buddies in Mexico on the border with a few reality tv stars or right wing radio hosts who have never done any good for mankind but make millions of dollars off of stupid people, laughing all the way to the bank! Then again, I doubt Mexico would want Boss Hogg. Maybe they could throw in some viagra or a couple of cheeseburgers and fries in the deal?

    June 10, 2014 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  24. with a grain of salt

    Look at your post tom l., do you really wonder why no one responds to you, all you rwnj set the gop talking points up like Gospel, almost feel sorry for you. I recently listened to a few issues on the rush show this guy is filthy rich, from talking this horse hockey, really, this is your radio talking head, a loud mouthed junkie, too funny!

    June 10, 2014 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  25. Denise

    Are Snooki and Boehner related? What country are they from? I've never seen orange colored Americans before....

    June 10, 2014 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
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