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"Homeland" and the Bowe Bergdahl prisoner exchange

Actor Damien Lewis plays an American POW turned enemy agent in the Showtime thriller, "Homeland."
Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

In the noise surrounding the exchange of five enemy combatants in return for POW Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in Afghanistan, no one has asked the one question that might paint the exchange in a very different light:

What if there was a covert national security interest in releasing those Taliban prisoners? President Barack Obama has said repeatedly that the exchange was in the nation's security interests. Maybe he knows something that we don't.

What if one of the Taliban exchanged for Bergdahl is a witting or unwitting double agent?

Sound like the plot of the TV series, "Homeland"? It is. But that doesn't make it any less plausible. In the Showtime spy drama, it's the American POW Nicholas Brody (played by Damian Lewis) who returns home to betray his country. But in the Bowe Bergdahl prisoner exchange, the more likely scenario is that we pulled a Homeland on the Taliban.

It's very possible that in their 12 years of captivity, one or more of those five men were turned from sworn enemy to covert assets on the battlefield. How?

First, it's possible that through years of enhanced interrogation methods or conventional brainwashing by CIA experts, one or more of the Taliban have been morphed into a double-agent now sympathetic to America who could eventually lead us to Taliban leader Mullah Omar or other high value targets. This happened many times during the Cold War, and 12 years in Gitmo is plenty of time to reprogram a foreign fighter into a friendly (or at least pliable) sleeper agent.

Second, it's possible that the good folks running Gitmo could have implanted a microchip tracker under the detainees' skin without their knowledge. Such a device, which we know is scientifically plausible, would forever track the man should he return to the battlefield or return to the inside of Taliban power circles. One step back onto the battlefield - or one meeting with the senior Al Qaeda leadership - and boom! A drone makes a beeline right toward the honing signal coming from his capped molar.

Imagine if such a plant could lead to the capture or killing of Mullah Omar or Ayman al-Zawahiri, the presumed current leader of Al Qaeda in the Afghan/Pakistan region.

Of course this is all pure conjecture, and most critics of the trade will dismiss it as a fanciful notion. But in a time of "Homeland" plot twists and John le Carré spy stories, nothing is too outlandish to be plausible.

So while the right continues its daily assault on President Obama for his alleged naivety and "lawlessness" in approving the trade, it's just possible that the exchange of Bergdahl for five aging, weakened and neutralized fighters could lead to the biggest triumph in the Afghan war.

Could a Taliban prisoner turn out to be a real-life Nichols Brody?

Stranger things have probably happened.

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