June 10th, 2014
12:00 PM ET
4 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. sonny chapman

    Smith-Should America REPEAT the Mistakes of Vietnam against returning Soldiers ? That's where we 're heading. Let's stop it NOW. To hell with who's in the WH.

    June 10, 2014 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  2. Marie MD

    Hello out there in the orange world. Americans have been dying before these five were released. You are NOW going to blame American deaths on them and blame our a President? You think they were the ones behind friendly fire this morning?
    As a matter of fact more Americans, including our veterans, are dying right here in the US from not being able to obtain healthcare (Medicaid expansion comes to mind) than anywhere else and you and your clowns don't seem to care much about that.
    Going through life a crying drunken fool must not be much fun.

    June 10, 2014 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  3. Marcus (from...?)

    smith – @Sonny Chapman- It was liberal hippies throwing dog feces at soliders and calling KIA and POW`s parents saying they deserved what happend to them. That being said, liberals are once again targeting men who served with honor because they are speaking up about Bergdahl going AWOL.

    For once I agree with you, the treatment dispensed on all people returning from the Nam because of My Lai and other really stupid attempts of cover-up from the authorities (both military and civil ones, and from both parties) were still unjustifiable. Yeah, My Lai (and it attempt of a cover-up) did happen, but that did not meant that it was a widespread behavior from the guys and gals out there, and definitely (I repeat) does not justify any of the shameful and disgraceful behavior showed by a large portion of Americans at the time.
    That said, 'liberals are once again targeting men who served with honor because they are speaking up about Bergdahl going AWOL'?
    We only want to know who are Bergdahl's accusers. Is it ask too much to ask who are his accusers?

    June 10, 2014 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  4. Marcus (from...?)

    Typo!
    The correct is 'Is it too much to ask who are his accusers?'

    June 10, 2014 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    "There is not any doubt in my mind that there are going to be costs, lost lives associated with what came out of this," "

    This from the guy who just today refused to call the NV "revolution" shooting couple who planned to take over a courthouse and the "sovereign citizen" who also shot up a courthouse this past week...refused to call them "domestic terrorists" when they fit every single possible definition of it, including political motivations, etc. This from the guy whose party has spent the past 6 years egging those types of people on, riling them with just the right buzz words and rhetoric that they KNOW FULL WELL kicks the hive into a frenzy, increasing their memberships and their planning activity for things like those two shootings. This guy has the unmitigated gall to complain like that when he's been directly involved in and encouraging the massive surge of that kind of anti-government, "sovereign citizen" militia-wannabe extremism over the past 6 years? He and the GOP/Teatroll have every anti-gov't secessionist south shall rise again yahoo in the country slavering over their next utterance of the words "socialism" or "patriot" or "we the people"...and there's no denying that there is a CAUSAL relationship between the GOP/Teatrolls' disturbing demagoguery and hyperbole when there's a Dem POTUS and the increased membership and activity of such groups...and he has the audacity to point fingers and accuse anyone else of doing something he claims will endangers Americans?

    June 10, 2014 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  6. Bessy

    Maybe the fact that we invaded countries we shouldn't have invaded is the reason these " detainees " are so hell bent on destroying us. After 9-11 we should have gone after Saudi Arabia, but then again, they were friends of the Bush family and were removed from our country real fast.

    June 10, 2014 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    "The quote by McCain below clearly shows that he didn't flip flop"

    The quote by McCain below is entirely cherry-picked and out of context.

    FIFY

    McCain's desperate rationalizations don't save him.

    June 10, 2014 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  8. Rudy NYC

    rs

    Sorry "gang", Mr. McCain got the exact deal he was consulted on- those 5 guys for our one. No changes were made for the deal. Once again, the GOP needed a "controversy" more than America needed a POW back.
    ------------------------------
    " Well, at that time the proposal was that they would release Taliban, some of them really hard-core, particularly five really hard-core Taliban leaders, as a confidence-building measure. Now this idea is for an exchange of prisoners for our American fighting man. I would be inclined to support such a thing depending on a lot of the details."

    Agreed. McCain spoke as if he had detailed inside knowledge about negotiations for a prisoner exchange involving "five really hard care Taliban leaders .... for our American fighting man." He may not had been informed that the deal was taking place, but he knew the details of a potential deal. He's not as ignorant as he claims to have been.

    June 10, 2014 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  9. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Ok Boehner, but didn't 2 American policemen get murdered over the weekend? Or was it a dream? I've barely seen any coverage of it. As a matter of fact I saw more media attention for the ACA website than 2 dead cops.

    June 10, 2014 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  10. Lynda/Minnesota

    smith
    @Sonny Chapman- It was liberal hippies throwing dog feces at soliders and calling KIA and POW`s parents saying they deserved what happend to them. That being said, liberals are once again targeting men who served with honor because they are speaking up about Bergdahl going AWOL.
    --------------–

    My brother was serving with the Marines in Vietnam during the time of John McCain's capture. I remember to this day praying for my brother's safe return; ALL our soldiers safe return; ALL our POWs safe return; as well of those of my many brothers (and cousins) serving in the military, but not specifically in Vietnam.

    I think we should all sit back and take a deep, deep breath without the finger pointing, which is adding nothing to the conversation by repeating all the ugliness that was once Vietnam.

    I will always respect John McCain for all he endured as a POW. That being said, I also find he has become (as so many in politics do become) bitter and angry. And yes: unreasonable.

    June 10, 2014 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  11. Rick McDaniel

    The truth is, Americans WILL die because of that swap. The attacks in Karachi are just the beginning of the new offensive by those released Taliban leaders. Expect Americans in Afghanistan to feel the brunt by the end of the month.

    June 10, 2014 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  12. smith

    @Denise-Sorry to mess up your fodder lie. 29% of GOP current congress members have served and less than 1% of current dems in congress have served.

    June 10, 2014 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  13. Lynda/Minnesota

    "The attacks in Karachi are just the beginning of the new offensive by those released Taliban leaders ..."

    The Taliban leaders are upset we traded one of our own for five of their own? Interesting.

    June 10, 2014 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  14. smith

    @Lynda- I must say your words are enlightening and would be the best adivce for all to follow.

    June 10, 2014 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
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