House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) came out Tuesday in support of statements made by House Intelligence Committee Chair Mike Rodgers (R-Mich.), who said the Obama administration told congressional leaders about a possible prisoner exchange for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in 2011, but failed to follow up.
Boehner said in a statement that lawmakers thought they’d be consulted again if a swap was to take place, but never were.
“More than two years ago, Members of Congress were briefed on the possibility of such an exchange, and the chairmen at the time and I raised serious questions to the administration,” Boehner said. “Unfortunately, the questions and concerns we had were never satisfactorily answered and they remain today.
“At the time, the administration deferred further engagement because the prospects of the exchange had diminished. The administration provided assurances, publicly reiterated by the White House in June 2013, that its engagement with Congress would resume if the prospects for an exchange became credible again. The briefings in late 2011 and January 2012 were highly compartmented to ensure the safety of Sergeant Bergdahl and to preserve space for diplomatic negotiations. While press reports at the time citing administration sources revealed that the White House was considering this prisoner exchange, Congress kept the serious ongoing policy and ethical discussion with the administration private.”
Boeher went on to say that it was their opposition to the exchange that resulted in the White House keeping it a secret from Congress.
“There was every expectation that the administration would re-engage with Congress, as it did before, and the only reason it did not is because the administration knew it faced serious and sober bipartisan concern and opposition,” Boehner said.