Rick Perry: Was Hostage Swap Bid to Take VA Off the Front Page?

Wednesday, 04 Jun 2014 06:40 AM

By Greg Richter

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Texas Gov. Rick Perry voiced suspicion of the Obama administration's swap of five Taliban prisoners for an American soldier over the weekend, suggesting it was done to draw attention away from the Department of Veterans Affairs scandal.

"Was this done to take the VA off the front page of the newspapers?" Perry asked Tuesday on Fox News Channel's "Hannity." "This kind of happened all of a sudden, it seems like. Congress didn't even know about it."

Story continues below video.



The trade of the five Taliban leaders from the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay for U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was announced Satrurday. The president is required by law to notify Congress of any prisoner releases from the facility 30 days in advance.

Only Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says he was informed before the public found out about the exchange. The White House said an exemption was necessary because Bergdahl's life was in danger.

Republicans and some Democrats were unhappy at the lack of notification, and a closed Senate hearing is set for Wednesday on the subject.

The announcement of Bergdahl's release came a day after Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki resigned over the scandal at the VA over long wait times for veterans seeking medical care.

"What is the strategy here? What is the foreign policy that's going into place here? Is it just haphazard?" Perry asked. "Is it just whatever we need to do to move a press story a day to get something off of the front page of the papers?"

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