WH throws Hagel under bus for Bergdahl prisoner swap

WH throws Hagel under bus for Bergdahl prisoner swap

Now that public opinion for the prisoner swap of the Taliban-5 in exchange for alleged deserter Bowe Bergdahl has gone south, the latest official story is that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel — not the president — gave the green light for the deal.

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon, R-Calif., appeared on CNN’s “Outfront” Monday evening following a classified briefing by White House officials.

Ashleigh Banfield, filling in for Erin Burnett, told McKeon that she’d heard reports that the administration, in response to a question by a committee member, claimed Hagfel gave the final go-ahead for the exchange.

“Is that accurate?” she asked, according to a CNN transcript of the broadcast.

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“That was the last question asked, and the answer was Secretary Hagel, which kind of surprised me, because I did see the president out there with the Bergdahls, sounded like he was taking full credit for the operation, and now they are saying that Secretary Hagel made the decision, probably parsing of words or probably maybe now that there’s a little pushback or, I don’t know,” he said. “I don’t know who’s in charge or who’s making the decisions. It did seem to me that it was the president, and that was the emphasis up until this briefing, and now they are saying Secretary Hagel.”

Shortly after the interview, “Outfront” tweeted:

It only took a single minute for this to get a response, and it was a good one:

A Twitter user with the handle Caddy Wompass threw in his own commentary:

Many more tweeps soon joined in, and very few of their remarks were complimentary to the president:

What color indeed. That’s one thing we’ve seen plenty of in the last five-and-a-half years — people being thrown under the bus to cover for the president.

In a later segment of the program, U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., told Banfield that although it would have been “far wiser” to comply with the law and keep Congress informed of the swap, he thought that “the president had the constitutional authority under Article 2 to make this decision” on his own.

There are only two problems with this line of reasoning: First, neither Obama nor Schiff has the authority to determine what is or is not constitutional — that’s a function of the courts. Second, Article 2 of the Constitution gives the secretary of defense no power whatsoever.

Michael Dorstewitz

Michael Dorstewitz

Michael Dorstewitz is a recovering Michigan trial lawyer and former research vessel deck officer. He has written extensively for BizPac Review.

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