Rep. Ros-Lehtinen: Boehner Objected to Bergdahl Swap 2 Years Ago

Thursday, 05 Jun 2014 10:54 AM

By Drew MacKenzie

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House Republicans, including Speaker John Boehner, expressed their outrage two years ago to the Obama administration when they were informed of plans to swap Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl for Taliban commanders, Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen has revealed.

The Florida congresswoman said that in 2012 the administration had briefed her and other members of Congress about negotiations to trade Bergdahl, a likely deserter in Afghanistan, for five detainees at Guantanamo Bay, the Miami Herald reported Thursday.

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who served as chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee from 2011 to 2013, said she and Boehner, along with other GOP members, fiercely objected to negotiating with terrorists.

"They said: 'We hear you loud and clear,'" said Ros-Lehtinen, a Cuban exile. "And two years later, what do we have? A prisoner swap."

Soon after the briefing, Congress passed a law stating that it must be given 30 days notice before transferring any detainees from the military prison.

However, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada was the only person in Congress who was informed about the trade before it became public, according to Politico.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Bergdahl’s life was "in peril," and the administration was forced to act quickly to strike a deal with the Taliban.

Meanwhile, according to Reuters, Vice President Joe Biden did not get behind President Barack Obama on the Bergdahl deal, saying that he remained "neutral on the prisoner swap."

The Republican objections to the exchange in 2012 came to light as Ros-Lehtinen claimed that she believes the White House is planning a similar swap for government contractor Alan Gross, who has been jailed in Cuba on what many consider to be trumped-up spy charges in 2009, the Herald said.

"I seriously believe the administration is considering a swap," Ros-Lehtinen said. "The administration has shown itself not to be faithful to the law and is not to be trusted."

The White House has denied that it’s planning a trade for the three remaining "Cuban Five" espionage convicts imprisoned in the United States. But Ros-Lehtinen said she believes that the administration is quietly talking to Cuban authorities about a deal, the Herald added.

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