Obama allowed the Taliban to hand-pick the "Gitmo Five" to be released...
With the number of scandals plaguing the Obama Administration seemingly popping up by the day, Kevin Cirilli of the inside-the-beltway news portal The Hill reported on June 1, 2014 that the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has managed to knock the deaths of 40 vets at the Phoenix, Ariz VA hospital off the headlines, at least for the time being. In the wake of the Bergdahl-Taliban deal, a growing chorus from media outlets across the political spectrum have been raising previously under-reported or flatly ignored specifics of Barack Obama's prisoner exchange deal with the terrorist network.
Reporters James Rosen and Hannah Allam of McClatchy News (Washington, DC bureau) cited on June 1, 2014, the reaction of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz) who stated the five Guantanamo Bay al-Qaeda and Taliban detainees released were "the hardest of the hard-core." To add insult to injury, McCain revealed that Obama conceded to the Taliban that they could hand-pick which five were released in exchange for the Army sergeant who reportedly walked off his post five years ago and subsequently captured by the Haqqani branch of the Taliban.
The normally hard left-leaning The Daily Beast gave a brief biography on most of the specially chosen terror operatives, whom Thomas Joscelyn, a senior editor at the Long War Journal, described as "undoubtedly among the most dangerous Taliban commanders held at Guantanamo."
Mullah Mohammad Fazl - the Taliban’s former Deputy Defense Minister is a wanted man the United Nations for his role in the savage massacres of thousands of Afghanistan's Shiite Muslim minority.
Mullah Norullah Noori - one of the more senior Taliban military leaders. Reportedly was personally asked by Usama bin Laden in 1995 "to participate in an offensive against northern alliance warlord Rashid Dostum."
Abdul Haq Wasiq - the former Deputy Minister of Intelligence, at the onset of US intervention in Afghanistan was supposedly working with the American military, but "was holding out information he had on other top al Qaeda and Taliban leaders during interrogations." Was also considered a "crucial liaison between the Taliban and other Islamic fundamentalist groups while he was Deputy Intelligence Minister."
Khairullah Khairkhwa - the former governor of Herat during they heyday of the Taliban. Considered by the Pentagon to be a likely heroin trafficker. Also "participated in meetings with Iranian officials after 9-11 to help plot attacks on U.S. forces following the invasion."
Mohammed Nabi Omari - CNN separately reported he was the Taliban's former Chief of Communications who was also involved in aiding "al Qaeda members escape from Afghanistan to Pakistan."
"The soldiers involved asking why we were burning so much gasoline trying to find a guy who had abandoned his unit in the first place..."
Ex-soldier Nathan Bethea who was with the same command in Afghanistan as Bergdahl, penned for The Daily Beast a very blunt retelling of the disappearance and subsequent deaths of American troops who were involved in multiple operations to locate and rescue the missing Bergdahl:
Bergdahl was a deserter, and soldiers from his own unit died trying to track him down.
Bethea also cited Bergdahl "failed to show for the morning roll call. The soldiers in 2nd Platoon, Blackfoot Company discovered his rifle, helmet, body armor and web gear in a neat stack. He had, however, taken his compass."
Not quite done yet, the combat veteran responded to sporadic reports that Bergdahl actually fell behind while on foot patrol, which resulted in his supposed capture:
Make no mistake: Bergdahl did not "lag behind on a patrol,” as was cited in news reports at the time. There was no patrol that night. Bergdahl was relieved from guard duty, and instead of going to sleep, he fled the outpost on foot. He deserted.
The former Infantry officer also made a point of citing the eight soldiers killed in the various operations to rescue the missing soldier:
Private First Class Aaron Fairbairn, Private First Class Justin Casillas, Private First Class Matthew Martinek, Private First Class Morris Walker, Staff Sergeant Clayton Bowen, Staff Sergeant Kurt Curtiss, Staff Sergeant Michael Murphrey and Second Lieutenant Darryn Andrews.
Obama official weighs in...
Susan Rice, the former US Ambassador to the United Nations and current National Security Advisor to Barack Obama stated in an interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos (video here) that Bergdahl "served the United States with honor and distinction." Despite Rice having no authority over members of the Armed Forces, when asked if Bergdahl would face possible charges of desertion, Rice stated matter-of-factly:
Certainly anybody who's been held in those conditions, in captivity for five years, has paid an extraordinary price. But that is really not the point. The point is that he's back.