Tags: MidPoint | Tony Shaffer | Bowe Bergdahl | White House | afghanistan | taliban

Lt. Col. Shaffer: White House 'Interfered' with Bergdahl Probe

By    |   Tuesday, 27 January 2015 01:15 PM

The Obama White House wanted to put a lid on the findings of an Army probe into a suspected deserter, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was returned home last year in a controversial prisoner swap that freed five hardened Taliban militants from Guantanamo Bay, retired Army Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer told Newsmax TV on Tuesday.

Bergdahl will be officially charged with desertion, according to reports, on an investigation that was completed in October, but not publicized because the White House "has worked behind the scenes … to essentially make this go away," Shaffer, a defense and security policy analyst, told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner, citing multiple sources.

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"Really, there's no way for it to go away," said Shaffer. "To put it bluntly, Sgt. Bergdahl deserted his post, and the investigations now have factually shown that."

Bergdahl waked away form his Army base in Afghanistan in June 2009 and was captured by the Taliban. Several of his platoon mates accused him of desertion when news of the prisoner swap surfaced last June and President Barack Obama brought Bergdahl's parents to the White House.

The Army on Tuesday denied that a decision had been made to bring desertion charges against Bergdahl. Major General Ronald Lewis, the Army's head of public affairs, said that report, and another from Fox News, were "patently false."

"To be clear there have been no actions or decisions on the Sergeant Bergdahl investigation," Lewis said in a statement.

"The investigation is still with the commanding general of U.S. Army Forces Command (General Mark Milley) who will determine appropriate action - which ranges from no further action to convening a court-martial," he added.

The Pentagon's press secretary, Rear Admiral John Kirby, told a news conference that no decision had been made in the case and said Milley was under no pressure to make a decision on any timeline.

Shaffer, a Special Ops veteran of the Afghanistan war and author of "Operation Dark Heart," told Fox News host Bill O'Reilly on Monday that White House Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes sought to keep the information from becoming public — even as some reports leaked out — because it would embarrass Obama.

Shaffer also said that Obama last spring had other, classified options for dealing with Bergdahl, but decided instead to use "a political narrative to manage national security issues."

"The president chose the option he did for two reasons: First, it allowed him to get rid of five detainees from Guantanamo," said Shaffer. "That is part of what this White House is trying to do, no matter what, even if that means trading people away who are dangerous."

The president also saw a Bergdahl homecoming as a "good news story —  something that he could use … as a prop to show that he's being progressive and supportive of military issues," said Shaffer.

"So those two things together resulted in the president making some very uninformed decisions, and the result … is catastrophic to our national security," said Shaffer, arguing that the deal undermined the longstanding U.S. position of failing to negotiate with terrorists, and returned five terrorists to the battlefield.

"It's just not a good precedent to have set," said Shaffer.

Shaffer also discussed the arrest of a Russian spy posing as a banker in New York City, comparing the collar to an insider-trading bust, with the culprit in this case being Russia — a country that Shaffer said has become "very much a commercial enterprise" under President Vladimir Putin.

Even for Russia, some military concerns have been "sidelined to these larger economic issues," said Shaffer, and economic information, as much as classified military and intelligence data, is what Russia wants and needs in the 21st century to "survive and thrive."

Material from Reuters was used in this report.

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The Obama White House wanted to put a lid on the findings of an Army probe into a suspected deserter, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, retired Army Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer told Newsmax TV on Tuesday.
Tony Shaffer, Bowe Bergdahl, White House, afghanistan, taliban
Tuesday, 27 January 2015 01:15 PM
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