A prominent Democratic senator and chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee is the latest to disagree with the Obama administration’s justification for the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.
The administration has maintained that Bergdahl was in imminent danger, which required the expedition of negotiations to secure his return. Bergdahl’s condition has also been used to explain why the administration did not notify Congress of the planned release of five Taliban commanders in exchange for Bergdahl, though law requires a 30 day notice.
But Sen. Dianne Feinstein isn’t buying the administration’s rationale.
“I don’t think there was a credible threat,” said Feinstein in an interview with Bloomberg’s Al Hunt that will air this weekend. “I have no information that there was.”
On Wednesday, Obama administration officials from the Penatgon and Joint Chiefs of Staff held a closed-door meeting in which senators were shown a “proof-of-life” video of Bergdahl filmed in December while still in Taliban captivity.
Many in attendance felt that the video did not prove the administration’s claims that Bergdahl was in imminent danger. Many said he looked drugged. (RELATED: Report: Freed Taliban Commander Has Plans To Return To War Against U.S.)
“There’s no question he was debilitated,” Feinstein said. “There was no question he was under stress – blinking rapidly, probably held in dark surroundings for a long period of time.”
Feinstein also told Bloomberg that she was “mixed” over whether Bergdahl deserted his unit.
Bergdahl disappeared from his platoon on June 30, 2009. Some of his former comrades said that Bergdahl had expressed feelings of disenchantment with the U.S.’s mission in Afghanistan. Other sources have claimed that Bergdahl actively sought out the Taliban.
Besides concerns that Obama circumvented the law, some lawmakers have said that the five Taliban commanders turned over in exchange for Bergdahl still pose a threat to the U.S.
Those worries may have been confirmed. Based on statements from another Taliban commander, NBC News reported Friday that one of the freed commanders has plans to return back to Afghanistan to continue fighting the U.S.