White House: We Thought Bergdahl Would Be Killed

Says it bypassed Congress because of threats by Taliban
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 5, 2014 12:21 PM CDT
White House Skipped Congress Over Threat to Kill Bergdahl
In this image taken from video obtained from Voice Of Jihad Website, a Taliban fighter speaks to Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, in eastern Afghanistan.   (AP Photo/Voice Of Jihad Website via AP video)

The Obama administration has told senators it didn't notify Congress about the pending swap of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl for five Taliban officials because the Taliban had threatened to kill him if the deal was made public before it happened. That's according to three congressional officials who spoke to the AP. The officials said today that the threat—not just concerns that the captive's health might be failing—drove the Obama administration to quickly make a deal to rescue Bergdahl.

The threat had been transmitted by Qatari officials at the height of the negotiations. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was referring in part to the threat when he said Sunday that "there was a question about his safety," the officials told the senators in a closed-door briefing yesterday. (More Bowe Bergdahl stories.)

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