Those watching cable television Saturday afternoon or perusing the headlines the following morning were treated to a surprise story with the makings of a Hollywood blockbuster: The president of the United States steps up to a sun-splashed podium in the Rose Garden flanked by the grateful parents of an American soldier held captive for nearly five years.
The return of U.S. Army Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl was, according to the White House’s script, “a joyous occasion” and a fulfillment of one of America’s “most sacred obligations” of never leaving a man behind on the battlefield. For his family and friends, it certainly was both of those things.
But it was more than that. Even as the administration’s spinners fanned out the following morning on the Sunday talk shows to further regale Americans with the heartwarming tale of Bergdahl’s return, the story began to unravel as uncomfortable questions began popping up about the details of the swap:
— Why did the administration fail to give Congress 30 days’ advance notice of the transfer of five Guantanamo Bay detainees, as required by law — one signed by President Obama himself?