Of all the objections to the deal that won the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the most potent is the irrefutable claim that the
The lack of notice might seem a legal nicety that would be of little interest to the general public. But a USA Today poll suggests otherwise. Asked if the president should be required to inform Congress "on decisions like these," 64% of respondents said yes and only 30% no. (There seems to be a partisan tilt in the responses: 87% of Republicans favored notifying Congress, compared with 44% of Democrats.)
Much has been made — legitimately — about the fact that President Obama signed the legislation requiring him to notify Congress of Guantanamo transfers and then issued a
Legality aside, was it really impossible for Obama to give a heads-up to key congressional committees — if not the statutory 30 days then at least some prior notice? Obama has argued that the administration had to move quickly because Bergdahl's health was precarious. According to congressional sources who spoke to the Associated Press, the administration also was worried that the Taliban might kill Bergdahl if news of the deal leaked.
Even if true, it doesn’t follow that Congress couldn’t be trusted with the information about the deal. Members have kept mum about other secrets, including details of the
On Wednesday, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel defended the Bergdahl deal in an appearance before the House Armed Services Committee. But he also conceded that the administration "could have done a better job" of keeping Congress informed.
That's a huge understatement.