[guest post by Dana]
On Face the Nation this morning, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D), voiced her disagreement with claims made by the Obama administration regarding the details of the deal involving five Taliban detainees exchanged for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.
Feinstein, a California Democrat who chairs the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, joins a chorus of Republicans, veterans, families of deceased soldiers, and other critics of both the deal for Bergdahl’s release and the administration’s failure to give advance notice to Congress before releasing detainees from Guantanamo Bay, as required by a 2013 law.
Feinstein noted that after the release of the five Taliban officials to Qatar, it will be difficult at best to ensure that they don’t pose a continuing threat to American interests.
“There is no house arrest,” Feinstein said. “They have the country, which is very small, to be about in. Secretary [of State John] Kerry made a very strong statement this morning, saying, ‘Oh, we have ways, and we will see that they do not defect, move, speak, whatever.’ And we’ll see*.”
“You’re not as comfortable about that as he is,” host Bob Schieffer asked.
“Well it’s hard to be comfortable when you haven’t been briefed on the intricacies of carrying out this agreement,” Feinstein said.
The senator also said administration officials are not telling the truth when they claim senators are never briefed about “an ongoing operation.”
“That isn’t necessarily true,” Feinstein shot back. “We have been briefed — the chairman and the ranking member — Senator [Saxby] Chambliss and I have been briefed on operations under way. We understand the security of that; we have never violated that. But at least you have some knowledge, and you can make some comment. That’s never been the case with this particular situation. So it hits us as a real surprise.”
Note: Secretary of State John Kerry spoke to CNN this morning regarding concerns about the five released Taliban detainees:
“I’m not telling you that they don’t have some ability at some point to go back and get involved (in fighting). But they also have an ability to get killed doing that. ” Kerry said in his first public comments on the controversial prisoner exchange.
Kerry defended the swap and told CNN the former detainees will be monitored closely — and not just by officials in Qatar, where they were flown after being released. He wouldn’t say who else will be watching, but he said the United States is confident the conditions of their release will be honored.
“And if they’re violated, then we have the ability to be able to do things,” he said, warning that the United States would do whatever is necessary to protect Americans “if these guys pick a fight with us in the future, or now, or at any time.”