Just under a year ago, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney promised that any decision with respect to the release of Guantanamo Bay detainees in exchange for kidnapped Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl would be made in consultation with Congress.
CARNEY: With regard to the transfer of Taliban detainees from Guantanamo Bay, we have made — the United States has not made the decision to do that, though we do expect the Taliban to raise this issue in our discussion, if and when those discussions happen.
As we have long said, however, we would not make any decisions about transfer of any detainees without consulting with Congress and without doing so in accordance with U.S. law.
Q So you haven’t ruled it out?
CARNEY: I’m simply saying that — first of all, you have to separate the two issues. We are focused on the return — the safe and immediate return of Sergeant Bergdahl, and we continue to use the tools at our disposal to help bring that about.
We also expect the Taliban to raise the issue of their detainees in discussions that we have with them if those discussions take place. And at this time we’ve made no decisions about the transfer of detainees.
And in accordance with law, we would be consulting with Congress should we make any decisions about that. So we remain committed to the closure of Guantanamo Bay, as you know. But separate from that on these specific issues about individual detainees, that would be a process that is done in accordance with law.
Instead, the White House this week sent five dangerous former Taliban packing to Qatar without a word to lawmakers.
Carney today said Congress should have figured it out and, anyway, the White House had to move fast:
This should not have come as a surprise to members of Congress that this was possible because we had been working to secure Sgt. Bergdahl’s release for a long time . . .
It was the judgement of the team and the president that there was enough urgency here to assure that Sgt. Bergdahl was recovered . . .
Today we are being asked to believe the White House when it says the threat posed to the United States by the former detainees has been “sufficiently mitigated” by the terms of the release.
Hopefully this is true. But we’ll find out. Possibly the hard the way.