L.A. Times Celebrates Trade of Five Taliban GTMO Detainees for U.S. Soldier — Without Telling You Who Those Detainees Are
This is on the L.A. Times main site right now:
Here is the beginning of the story:
Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, a captive of the Taliban for nearly five years, has been released to the U.S. military in Afghanistan in exchange for the release of five Afghan prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Bergdahl, an Idaho native, was 23 went he went missing in June 30, 2009, in the eastern Afghan province of Paktika, near the border with Pakistan.
President Obama says U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl has been released.
“On behalf of the American people, I was honored to call his parents to express our joy that they can expect his safe return, mindful of their courage and sacrifice throughout this ordeal,” President Obama said in a statement released by the White House. Obama is now scheduled to speak from the White House at 3:15 p.m.
Robert Bergdahl, the soldier’s father, tweeted his thanks Saturday afternoon.
“To every single person who worked so hard to make this recovery possible, WE LOVE YOU! GOD IS GREAT AND HIS MERCY ENDURES FOREVER!” wrote @bobbergdahl.
You can keep reading the article for details about the “five Afghan prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba” — but you will not find those details. The released Afghans are mentioned only one more time in the story:
Bergdahl, now 28, was released to American custody Saturday evening, local time, in Afghanistan. The transfers happened after a week of intense negotiations mediated by the gover nment of Qatar, which will take custody of the Afghans. Several dozen U.S. special forces were involved in the exchange, which took place in eastern Afghanistan, near the Pakistani border.
There is absolutely nothing in the article about who these detainees are. Are they dangerous? Do they pose a risk to the U.S.? The L.A. Times seems remarkably incurious about the answers to these rather obvious questions. The reporter is far too busy telling us how wonderful it is that Bergdahl is home.
The answers can be found, though — of all places, at the Daily Beast (!). The article is titled Here are the Taliban Terrorists Obama Released to Free POW Bowe Bergdahl. The Beast deserves your click to read the whole thing, but I’ll give you a teaser:
The five Guantanamo detainees released by the Obama administration in exchange for America’s last prisoner of war in Afghanistan, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, are bad guys. They are top Taliban commanders the group has tried to free for more than a decade.
According to a 2008 Pentagon dossier on Guantanamo Bay inmates, all five men released were considered to be a high risk to launch attacks against the United States and its allies if they were liberated. The exchange shows that the Obama administration was willing to pay a steep price, indeed, for Bergdahl’s freedom. The administration says they will be transferred to Qatar, which played a key role in the negotiations.
. . . .
While not as well known as Guantanamo inmates like 9-11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the Taliban 5 were some of the worst outlaws in the U.S. war on terror. And their release will end up replenishing the diminished leadership ranks of the Afghan Taliban at a moment when the United States is winding down the war there.
“They are undoubtedly among the most dangerous Taliban commanders held at Guantanamo,” said Thomas Joscelyn, a senior editor at the Long War Journal who keeps a close watch on developments concerning the detainees left at the Guantanamo Bay prison.
Nobody can deny that it’s wonderful news to have a captive soldier home. But a publication needs to be honest about the tradeoffs.
Are you surprised to find that the Los Angeles Times has not been honest?