Mike Rogers: WH Claims on Bergdahl Don't Match Records

Image: Mike Rogers: WH Claims on Bergdahl Don't Match Records

Monday, 02 Jun 2014 07:28 PM

By Greg Richter

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Rep. Mike Rogers says he's been looking at the records of meetings White House staffers have had with the House Intelligence Committee he chairs, and they don't match up with claims the administration is making.

According to The Washington Post, Chief of Staff Denis McDonough and Press Secretary Jay Carney say the White House has been briefing Congress for five years on a potential deal to free Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl from Taliban captors.

But Rogers told CNN on Monday that the stories they are telling now differ from what they said in the past.

Bergdahl was freed Saturday in exchange for five Taliban leaders held by the United States at its Guantanamo Bay prison. Rogers is among a bipartisan group of lawmakers who think the deal was improperly negotiated.

He told "Fox & Friends" on Monday that the deal was a "political stunt." On CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer,"  he said the administration is "misleading" the public in the aftermath.

The White House didn't follow the law in giving 30-days' notice to Congress before the releases, but argued the situation was an emergency because Bergdahl's health was deteriorating and quick action was necessary.

Rogers disputed that, saying no such health information was even available on Bergdahl. Further, he said, the talks had been ongoing for weeks, possibly as far back as December. If any health issues had been known, there would have been time to tell members of Congress.

The last time the administration met with Congress on Bergdahl, in 2011, its idea for a prisoner swap was met with opposition from both parties in both chambers.

"They pitched that at the time as a confidence-builder into negotiating a peace agreement," Rogers told CNN. "And so, clearly, that doesn't jibe with what they've just been saying."

The White House seems to be wanting to get into a "public match" with the House and Senate intelligence committees, Rogers said, even though it is the job of those committees to oversee such sensitive operations.

"They sure should come up and get the story straight amongst themselves," Rogers said. "This health issue, we've learned today, is simply not the case. They had no information that he had an acute health issue as of last weekend."

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