Hillary Clinton offered a less-than-ringing endorsement of the Bowe Bergdahl prisoner swap yesterday, calling the administration's no-man-left-behind ideal "noble," but adding, "I think we have a long way to go before we really know how this is going to play out." Which isn't surprising, sources tell the Daily Beast, because while Clinton actively led negotiations for Bergdahl's release in 2011 and 2012, she was "very skeptical" about a prisoner swap deal, and might not have signed off on any final agreement. She "felt that the Haqqani network were really bad guys," Congressman Jim Moran explains.
Clinton was negotiating a tougher version of the deal that would have staggered the release of the Taliban detainees, and subjected them to more restrictions, like monitoring and travel bans. At the time, people like Adm. Mike Mullen and Leon Panetta were advocating a rescue operation instead of a prisoner swap, the Washington Post reports. Obama hoped a swap would help along the Afghan-Taliban peace process, but Clinton, Robert Gates, and James Clapper all believed that releasing the detainees was too risky. A spokesman for Clapper confirmed that he'd had doubts, but added that "circumstances have changed dramatically" since then. (Read more Bowe Bergdahl stories.)