Bergdahl Swap for Guantanamo Detainees Violated Law, Says GAO


Bowe Bergdahl
U.S. Army

There are a lot of ways to think about Bowe Bergdahl and the U.S. government's exchange of five detainees at Guantanamo for his release by the Taliban. The Government Accountability Office's (GAO) take on the swap is: illegal. That's the decision released today by the GAO in response to an inquiry by members of the United States Senate. The Department of Defense's error came from making the exchange without giving Congress 30 days notice, and  in using nonexistent funds to carry out the transfer.

Says the GAO in a summary:

The Department of Defense (DOD) violated section 8111 of the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2014 when it transferred five individuals detained at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to the nation of Qatar without providing at least 30 days notice to certain congressional committees. Section 8111 prohibits DOD from using appropriated funds to transfer any individuals detained at Guantanamo Bay unless the Secretary of Defense notifies certain congressional committees at least 30 days before the transfer. As a consequence of using its appropriations in a manner specifically prohibited by law, DOD also violated the Antideficiency Act.

Bergdahl's name doesn't actually appear in the document, which merely notes, "On May 31, 2014, DOD transferred five individuals from Guantanamo Bay to the nation of Qatar in exchange for the Taliban's release of an American soldier." But the reference is clear, and many lawmakers, especially in the GOP, were unhappy over the deal.

There's no specific remedy—no detainee-back guarantee—to be found in the GAO decision. Just advice that "DOD should report its Antideficiency Act violation as required by law."

H/T: Taylor Millard

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  1. Let’s just take a moment of silence for the poor hard drives that are going to be erased as a result of this finding.

  2. You can’t put a price on that lightning rod of controversy. He came into the national headlines just as the Obama Administration needed to change the news cycle narrative from- which scandal was it at the time?

    1. VA? Damn, I still remember. I denounce myself and will report to the nearest commissar immediately.

  3. What difference, at this point, does it make?

    1. And, nothing else will happen.

  4. Good God, another impeachment threat…that will not be carried out.

  5. Will anyone, anywhere see any negative consequences for this law being broken? I didn’t think so.

    1. My thoughts exactly. Law? What law?

      1. We don’t need no stinking law !!!

    2. Other than increasing the threat of military personnel being kidnapped and held for ransom?

  6. Since when does the government obey any law?

    1. Exactly. It can’t be illegal if you’re above the law.

  7. It’s Obo; who cares?
    The lying bastard hasn’t obeyed the law in years and no one calls him on it.

    1. You’re the resident neocon.


      1. That’s news to me, Jeff.

        1. Maybe we should put a FAQ or Directory together. It’d help people identify the assholes, and also the other 3-4% of commenters.

          1. That would be helpful.

        2. Did he refer to Bush as Shrug or worse?

          If so then I was wrong in my initial assessment.

          1. Jeffrey|8.21.14 @ 4:59PM|#
            “Did he refer to Bush as Shrug or worse?
            If so then I was wrong in my initial assessment.”

            Maybe YOU need to put together a listing of your definitions.

        3. That’d be news to me, too, unless someone changed definitions.

    2. No one ever cares what the GAO says.

      Nice agency, they do good work, but it’s always ignored.

  8. What law? Kinsa re not subject to any law that applies to you serfs!

    – Lord Obama

  9. And how many divisions does the GAO have?

    1. If NASA and the Dept of Ed have swat teams, why not the GAO?

      Hell, they could have a huge army and nobody would know because they do the audits.

      1. Not like GAO SWAT would be used against law breakers like the WH. Probably raids against pre-schools for not following head start guidelines or something like that.

        1. Bake sales.

  10. If the government ignores the Constitution it’s not going to worry about obeying any law.

    1. Hope and Change, bitch.

      1. Just a slogan.

        I did buy into “cut the deficit in half” though – and he did.

        1. A one trillion dollar bank bailout the year before you take office is a nice gift.

        2. I did buy into “cut the deficit in half” though – and he did.

          Every time you repeat this lie, I will refute it.

          The deficit for the year ending when Obama took office (01/20/08 – 01/20/09) was $1.438TT.

          The deficit at the end of FY 2009 was $1.785TT.

          So far this fiscal year, debt to the penny tells me that the deficit is $943BB.

          Tell me again how he cut the deficit in half.

          1. The U.S. government’s deficit will fall to $492 billion this year, according to the Congressional Budget Office, a steeper drop than originally predicted from $680 billion in fiscal year 2013.


            1. You are such a douche PB. Are you really celebrating the fact that Zero goosed the deficit with his wasted spending policies and then brought it down to a level about equal to the worst Bush laid on my kids backs?

            2. They better get to work on some revenue. The Treasury Department shows that from 30 September 2013 to 20 August 2014 public debt has increased by $696B and total debt $951B.

              1. I know, they should give away a bunch of DoD stuff to police depts, instead of selling it to private hands! That’ll help!

                -sad that I dont get a bouncy house, meat slicer, night vision goggles, and 7.62mm rifles at wholesale prices.-

            3. The problem might be in the translation. PB is speaking “politician”, a somewhat rare and often confusing language usually only spoken around government, but also occasionally on message boards too.

              Everyone else is speaking English. the two languages have much in common, but often mean two different things, thus leading to bad and expensive government.

        3. So Obama didn’t win in 2008 because he represented a change from the disastrous Bush years?

          And Obama is such a fiscal miser that he managed to double the nation’s debt in 6 years while holding interest rates near zero.

        4. I believe the quote was that if he didn’t cut the deficit in half in his first term, he didn’t deserve to be reelected.

    2. Who said anything about the GOP?

      Besides you, of course.

    3. So in you way of thinking, if someone commits murder on year and gets away with it. the next murderer gets a free pass ?

  11. If you keep voting for Republicans and Democrats this is the kind of thing you’re bound to end up with.

  12. So, if the President breaks the law to illegally release enemy combatants/war criminals who were held because they were just too dangerous to let loose – –

    Does that qualify as treason?

    Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.

  13. “DOD should report its Antideficiency Act violation as required by law.”

    One might suppose such failure to report is *yet another* criminal offense.

    Oh, well.

  14. If Congress ever gets around to impeaching this awful, awful president (and a number of officials in his administration), it may set a record for the number of articles of impeachment. But, no, no way it should happen, because impeachment is bad.

    1. Chin up, PL. Less than 2.5 years to go!

      1. Yes, then we can have a brand new criminal executive officer!! Hooray!

        1. Dances-with-Trolls|8.21.14 @ 5:44PM|#
          “Yes, then we can have a brand new criminal executive officer!! Hooray!”

          Ya know, there was hope (sorry) that as miserable as Obo looked, he just couldn’t be worse than BII. Ha and HA! Had us (or me) fooled!
          So I have to look at the teams’ offerings so far with a good bit less than anticipation (‘cept maybe Paul)

      2. You’re right, they’ll definitely impeach President Paul. Probably in February 2017.

    2. The can impeach Obama but they’ll need 67 Senators to convict. What is the likelyhood that a large number of Dems Senators will turn on Obama?

      1. Depends on the evidence that gets turned up. Lord knows there must be boxes and boxes of evidence they could find if they tried. I mean, come on, does anyone really believe this president hasn’t committed fifty separate impeachable acts? Really?

        1. You are assuming that about half of the Dem Senators care about evidence.

        2. Doesn’t matter. It’s political and the people would not support it.

          We’re heading for banana republic territory when it comes to Presidents — if Congress won’t defund Justice, HHS, and IRS for the crap they are doing, there is no separation of powers anymore.

        3. You had me at trial by disposition matrix.

      2. It may be the only way to have a shot at the White House for Team Blue in 2016.

  15. Sometimes you jsut have to roll with it thats all.

  16. I think it’s really cute that some of you still think the law applies to Barack Obama.

  17. *singing* I fought the law and the …. law lost!

  18. There is a real question whether the law is constitutional under separation of powers doctrine. Nonetheless, there are numerous other laws Obama has violated.

  19. This is without a doubt the second most blatant breach of National Security I have ever heard of. The first being James Earl Carter’s calling the PLO to inform them that a Army and Marine contingent were speeding there way. The entire Entebbe incident was a staged event to gain Carter votes against Reagan. On that day in July of 1979, 14 of my dearest friends / brother died so that bastard could get votes. My question is this. ” HOW MANY SOLDIERS AND CIVILIAN’S IS BERGDAHL GOING TO KILL BEFOR HE AND ODILDO ARE DONE??

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