Joseph Miller is the pen name for a ranking Department of Defense official with a background in U.S. special operations and combat experience in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has worked in strategic planning.
It’s been just over a week since Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was released in exchange for five senior Taliban leaders held in Guantanamo Bay, and so far the Obama administration is averaging nearly a lie a day. Here are the top eight administration claims, laid out and debunked in full.
Lie #1: Bergdahl was very sick
Bergdahl’s health was not rapidly deteriorating, as the administration claimed. Reports have leaked that the only medical problems Bergdahl is suffering from are “gum and skin disorders” associated with poor hygiene.
The video of Sgt. Bergdahl’s handover to American forces that was released by the Taliban shows Sgt. Bergdahl looking relatively healthy. In the tape, he is seen walking into the company of U.S. special operations forces and then climbing into the aircraft without assistance. The video also shows him lucid and communicating with his captors. We know from previous reporting that he was able to write down the letters “SF” with a question mark on paper once inside the helicopter, as a way of asking his rescuers if they were special forces. This proved that his fine motor skills were intact, and that he was aware of his surroundings.
It has also been reported that one of the few exchange between Bergdahl’s rescuers and his captors was a question about his health. The Taliban said he was not sick. Finally, reports from Landsthul Regional Medical Center in Germany state that Sgt. Bergdahl has been in stable condition.
Lie #2: The Taliban threatened to kill Bergdahl
To further justify its decision not to inform Congress (in violation of the law), administration officials claimed that there was a threat to kill Bergdahl if details of the prisoner swap were released. But Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, has stated that there is no credible information indicating that there was a threat to Berghdal’s life.
Lie #3: The administration informed Congress about the swap
Reports from Capitol Hill have informed us that the administration last discussed the possibility of a prisoner transfer with members of Congress several years ago. At that time, there was bipartisan and bicameral opposition to the idea. The law requires that the administration notify Congress 30 days prior to the release of any detainee from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The administration has admitted that it engaged in negotiations to secure the deal that set Bergdahl free for over a week prior to the swap. During that week, the administration never informed Congress — and only notified congressional leaders after the deal had been reached, after the detainees from Guantanamo were released, and after Berghdal was in American custody.
It appears that the administration chose to willfully violate the law by not informing Congress, as we now know that there was no credible threat to Bergdahl’s life, he wasn’t ill, and the administration was negotiating for over a week with his captors.