Tags: Afghanistan | Bowe Bergdahl Freed | Pentagon | Bowe Bergdahl | ransom | con man

WashTimes: Pentagon Duped, Paid Bergdahl Ransom to Con Man

By    |   Thursday, 20 Nov 2014 02:10 PM

Pentagon officials were duped and ended up paying ransom money for missing soldier Bowe Bergdahl to the wrong person, an Afghan "con man," the Washington Times reported.

Officials from the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) offered money to secure Bergdahl's release to the Haqqani terrorist network. The payment, however, was stolen by an intermediary working on the deal, the Times said, citing a Nov. 5 letter from U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, demanding to know whether the government was paying for other captives' release.

Wrote Hunter: "Given the significance of this matter, as well as the fact that Pentagon officials have denied that a payment was even considered — and you also said you were unaware of any such attempt — I ask you to immediately inquire with JSOC to determine the specific order of events."

Bergdahl, who is awaiting word of his fate after a military investigation, was eventually freed in a covert hostage exchange that has sparked anger among some lawmakers and others who believe the U.S. must not negotiate with terrorists. The findings of the Bergdahl probe have not yet been released, but are reportedly compete, The Hill reported.

In his "Inside the Ring" column, Times reporter Bill Gertz noted an "unspecified" amount was paid in ransom. The exchange was carried out by the Army's Delta Force anti-terrorism squad, which worked with the FBI to complete the assignment near North Waziristan's border with Afghanistan. There, the forces realized that the release would not occur and they had been duped.

"The Pentagon's spin on the payment is that the money was not technically a ransom," Gertz wrote. "Instead, defense officials are claiming the cash was intelligence money paid to a source for information that would lead to the release of Sgt. Bergdahl."

Some of Bergdahl's Army colleagues have alleged that he was a deserter who walked away from his unit in Afghanistan in 2009, leading to a five-year captivity, ABC News reported. Five members of the Taliban held by the U.S. in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, were released in exchange for his freedom.

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Pentagon officials were duped and ended up paying ransom money for missing soldier Bowe Bergdahl to the wrong person, an Afghan "con man," the Washington Times reported.
Pentagon, Bowe Bergdahl, ransom, con man
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2014-10-20
Thursday, 20 Nov 2014 02:10 PM
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