Photo Credit: AP / Pablo Martinez Monsivais, PoolWhite House officials on Monday attempted to distance President Obama from the decision to exchange five Taliban officers for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl by claiming that it was Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s call, a likely response to recent polls indicating that most Americans disapprove of the deal.
Members of the House of Representatives, who are still furious that the Obama administration failed to give them 30-day notice of the prisoner swap, were told during a closed-door briefing on Monday that the entire exchange hinged on Hagel’s approval.
Following the conclusion of the private meeting, Rep. Buck McKeon, R-Calif., the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, recounted what he learned.
“Now wait a minute, are you saying it was Secretary Hagel that made this decision, or was this the president of the United States?” McKeon told reporters. “It was the president of the United States that came out with the Bergdahls and took all the credit. And now that there’s been a little pushback, he’s moving away from it?”
Indeed, as noted by the Weekly Standard, there’s a major flaw in the White House’s attempt to pin the deal on the defense secretary: Hagel already said during a June 1 interview on “Meet the Press” that the final decision to trade five Taliban officers for Bergdahl came from Obama.
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