Obama Administration: Actually, Bergdahl Swap Was Defense Secretary Hagel's Idea

Matt Vespa
By Matt Vespa | June 10, 2014 | 11:36 AM EDT

The Obama administration seems to be running away from the Bergdahl swap, shifting responsibility to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.  This comes after polling showed that the American people - and veterans - aren't too happy about this exchange (via Washington Examiner):

White 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.


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.

"I signed off on the decision," Hagel said. "The president made the ultimate decision."

Of course, to say that the Bergdahl deal is Hagel's responsibility is to ignore completely the president's weekend Rose Garden announcement and Obama repeatedly stating that he - not the defense secretary - secured Bergdahl's release, thus ensuring America kept its "sacred honor" to its veterans.

But now the Bergdahl deal is polling poorly. So, you know, things change.

Guy Benson posted on Hot Air earlier this morning about a Reuters poll that showed two-thirds of Americans believe trading five Taliban members "sets a dangerous precedent for future kidnapping/hostage taking."

Lastly, a CBS News' poll noted that 56% of Americans think we paid "too high a price to secure Bergdahl's release;" 55% of veterans disapprove of the exchange; and 72% think Obama should've notified Congress about this initiative:

Among those who have served in the military, 55 percent disapprove of the prisoner swap.

Most Americans -- 56 percent -- say the U.S. paid too high a price to secure Bergdahl's release. Among veterans, that figure rises to 65 percent.


The poll finds a clear majority -- 72 percent -- think President Obama should have notified Congress in advance, and that includes 55 percent of people identifying themselves as Democrats.

Yeah, these aren't the numbers this administration was hoping for with this dangerous idea.

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