Patterico's Pontifications


Susan Rice Claim That U.S. Did Not Talk to Taliban Directly Is Contradicted by a Senior Administration Official

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:45 pm

Susan Rice is sent out to the Sunday yakkers to push an Administration claim that starts falling apart before the sun has even set.

Does this scenario sound familiar to anyone?

Today, Susan Rice made the rounds to claim that the United States does not negotiate with terrorists, because the U.S. Government did not talk directly to the Taliban, but rather used the Qatar government as an intermediary:

From the transcript:

CROWLEY: Point-blank, did the U.S. negotiate with terrorists for his release?

RICE: Candy, what we did was ensure that, as always, the United States doesn’t leave a man or a woman on the battlefield.



RICE: And in order to do this, it’s very important for folks to understand, if we got into a situation where we said, you know, because of who has captured an American soldier on the battlefield, we will leave that person behind, we would be in a whole new era for the safety of our personnel and for the nature of our commitment to our men and women in uniform.


RICE: So, because it was the Taliban that had him did not mean that we had any less of an obligation to bring him back.

CROWLEY: Right. In fact, it was the Haqqani Network, which really is listed as a terrorist. And this is not a judgment question. It’s just a question. You had to negotiate with terrorists to secure the release of the sergeant.

RICE: We actually negotiated with the government of Qatar, to whom we owe a great debt.

Rice also talked to George Snuffleupagus and described the talks as indirect (6:28 at the video at the link), saying “this engagement indirectly through the Qatarese with the Taliban was for the specific purpose of releasing Bowe Berghdahl.”

Here’s the problem. This story — that any discussions with the Taliban were indirect and conducted through the Qatar government — has already been contradicted by an unnamed “senior Administration official” in this New York Times report:

Senior administration officials cautioned that the discussions over the prisoner swap, which were secretly restarted last fall after collapsing several months earlier, did not necessarily presage the resumption of the broader, on-again-off-again peace talks to end the 13-year war.

“This is the only issue we’ve discussed with the Taliban in recent months,” said one senior Obama administration official involved in the talks. “We do hope that having succeeded in this narrow but important step, it will create the possibility of expanding the dialogue to other issues. But we don’t have any promises to that effect.”

But word of renewed, secret negotiations with the Taliban brought immediate criticism from some lawmakers, including Representative Mike Rogers of Michigan, the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

Oh, and also, we weren’t . . . actually . . . talking to the Taliban. That’s the part that the “senior Administation official” forgot to say — probably because the New York Times story was published yesterday, before they made up the lie about everything going through the “Qatarese.”

“DON’T DO STUPID SHIT”: As we examine yet another Rice misrepresentation, it’s an appropriate time to note that Obama and his aides have been actively pushing the talking point that Obama’s foreign policy can be summed as follows: “Don’t Do Stupid Shit.”

For real.

It sounds like an Onion story, but apparently Obama himself loves to push the line:

“For those pining for an Obama Doctrine victory for the president, here it is: ‘Don’t Do Stupid Shit,’” Politico’s Mike Allen wrote in his daily tip sheet, the Politico Playbook, Saturday. “Playbook rarely prints a four-letter word — our nephews are loyal readers. But we are, in this case, because that is the precise phrase President Obama and his aides are using in their off-the-record chats with journalists.

You read that right: Obama himself is telling journalists that his foreign policy doctrine is: “Don’t Do Stupid Shit.”

Which raises several questions. Negotiating with terrorists and returning 5 of the worst terrorists at GTMO — is that “stupid shit”? Violating a law requiring Congress to be informed ahead of time, and justifying that violation by citing the poor health of a guy who by all accounts is perfectly fine — is that “stupid shit”?

And the act of repeatedly sending out Susan Rice to lie to the American people about our feckless dealings with terrorists — is that “stupid shit”?

I wonder if our intrepid media can pose any of these questions to President Obama. (Off the record, of course. We don’t want to rock any boats, now do we?)

UPDATE: Tom Blumer writes to note that the article as it currently reads states:

Hopes for Sergeant Bergdahl’s release were lifted last November when the Taliban signaled it was prepared to engage the United States on the limited issue of a prisoner swap, but not on wider issues including reconciliation with the government of Afghanistan, a senior administration official said Saturday.

The discussions resumed with the Qatari government acting as an intermediary for messages between the two sides, the official said. Previous talks faltered over issues including restrictions on any released detainees; it was unclear whether the one-year travel prohibition was a breakthrough compromise. While it was described by American officials, it was not mentioned in a Taliban statement on the swap.

While this indicates that later talks took place using Qatar as an intermediary, it also suggests that earlier talks did not. Tom wonders whether this language was in the original article. I don’t think it was, but I can’t say for sure.

48 Responses to “Susan Rice Claim That U.S. Did Not Talk to Taliban Directly Is Contradicted by a Senior Administration Official”

  1. It’s become very clear to me that this administration does not care about any “rule of law,” but only about advancing whatever narrative they have at any given moment. So the campaign promises mean nothing. The statements to the press mean nothing. It’s all situational, and relative, and in service to Teh Narrative™. The part that makes me so unhappy is how precise the pundits were on these kinds of issues in the last administration, and how incurious they are with this one. The part that makes me angry is that if we ever do get (and it’s not likely, given how the Right eats their own candidates as unwitting dupes of the DNC) a non-Democrat in the White House, the pundits will turn right around and get very, very concerned with the primacy of the Rule of Law once more. Alphabetism uber alles. Heck, it’s not even about policy decisions. Just two letters.

    Simon Jester (f510e9)

  2. Rinse, repeat, wash. Ding.

    Ag80 (eb6ffa)

  3. a lying liar lied… unexpectedly!

    as for “stupid shit”, that is the only course of action Bam-Bam has open to him.

    he’s not smart enough to think of anything else, and he’s too stubborn to admit he needs help.

    redc1c4 (abd49e)

  4. RICE: Candy, what we did was ensure that, as always, the United States doesn’t leave a man or a woman on the battlefield.

    really? there were POWs known to be in NVA hands that never came home, etc, etc, etc…

    if you’re going to lie, make it believable and not easily disproved

    redc1c4 (abd49e)

  5. Maybe the White House could meet with Alanis Morissette to figure out what the heck they are talking about. Or not.

    Ag80 (eb6ffa)

  6. HAH!

    i quoted the post, and used the term “stupid 5hit”, but forgot to sanitize it…

    “awaiting moderation”. that’s a first for me here, i do believe.

    redc1c4 (abd49e)

  7. If the captors of the next American taken prisoner, by desertion or otherwise, want Khalid Sheikh Mohammed or the blind sheikh, or both, released in return for the American, aren’t we obligated to make the trade based on the exact words Rice is saying here? The alternative to not releasing KSM or the blind sheikh for the return of an American would be “a new era” of “leaving an American behind”.

    J Curtis (063253)

  8. Well, it could be true, if the U.S. negotiators were never in the same room with the representatives of the other side – likely too, as that way the ISI would not have had
    to find and carefully rehearse some Afghans who could pretend to be in charge. And they could say they don’t want to reveal their names because they could be targeted by drones.

    The Obama Administration is perfectly capable of negotiating without seeing the individuals they are negotiating with or even learning their names.

    Sammy Finkelman (c3c6b4)

  9. Anyone who cares about truth and honor are reduced to watching our version of Rick Blaine, who is not worthy of shining the original’s shoes.

    “I was misinformed.” That’s the totality of our president’s accountability.

    While I’m at it…the meme which tells us to back off the traitor POW because he suffered enough in five years? Eat me. At least six others died for his dereliction of duty. Dozens more, at a minimum, will suffer horrific consequences at the hands of the five freed terrorists.

    Thirty more months of this. Thirty. Time for some Divine providence?

    Ed from SFV (3400a5)

  10. When even Candy Crowley doesn’t buy your story, you need to get another one. So those five Taliban honchos will be playing backgammon in some cafe in Doha, no they will be in arms reach of a global Salafi network, which spans most of South Asia and a good chunk of Africa,

    narciso (3fec35)

  11. 5. The New York Times

    “All the News That’s Fit to Print”

    changed the last word, indicating it is not an exact quote, to “Stuff”

    What Obama evidently means by that, is don’t start a war, or any kind of fighting.

    Obama’s Foreign Policy Book

    Thomas L. Friedman
    May 31, 2014 (printed June 1, 2014)
    SULAIMANIYA, Iraq — When President Obama sits down to write his foreign policy memoir he may be tempted to use as his book title the four words he reportedly uses privately to summarize the Obama doctrine: “Don’t Do Stupid Stuff” (with “stuff” sometimes defined more spicily).

    Up to now, that approach has not served the country badly — fight where you must, fix what you can, work with allies wherever possible but never forget that using force is not the sole criterion for seriousness, considering, as Obama noted in a speech last week, that the wars that costs us the most were those we leapt into without proper preparation or allies and “without leveling with the American people about the sacrifice required.”

    So “Don’t Do Stupid Stuff” would certainly work as a book title today. But sitting here in Kurdistan — a true island of decency near the epicenter of what is now the biggest civil war on the planet, between Sunnis and Shiites, stretching from Iran across Iraq and Syria into Lebanon — I think Obama may eventually opt for a different book title: “Present at the Disintegration.”

    Sammy Finkelman (c3c6b4)

  12. Susan Rice is a joke. She’ll go down – and not just in history – as a tool of two incompetent fools: Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

    Colonel Haiku (9e9af6)

  13. the meme which tells us to back off the traitor POW because he suffered enough in five years?

    I actually found myself at first thinking, was the soldier released — did the White House bend over backwards to help him — because he was suffering some type of truly grueling condition? Perhaps he had cancer or some other type of serious illness. Maybe the White House had photos of him being tortured and ransom notes from his captors were being sent to the State Department.

    Yea, right.
    Fool me once (you godawful Barry), shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

    I’m deeply ashamed of myself right now.

    Mark (99b8fd)

  14. Come on it’s the nSC’s version of Joe Isuzu, as compared to Cher from Clueless, that’s Jen Psaki,

    narciso (3fec35)

  15. Nobody knows even who they are really negotiating with, if they are really anybody.

    The Afghan and Western officials questioned whether the interlocutors whom Mr. Karzai was in contact with had connections to the Taliban movement’s leader, Mullah Muhammad Omar, whose blessing would be needed for any peace deal the group were to strike….

    ….The only known genuine negotiating channel to those leaders was developed by American and German diplomats, who spent roughly two years trying to open peace talks in Qatar. The diplomats repeatedly found themselves incurring the wrath of Mr. Karzai, who saw the effort as an attempt to circumvent him; he tried behind the scenes to undercut it.

    Then, when an American diplomatic push led to the opening of a Taliban office in Qatar, Mr. Karzai lashed out publicly at the United States. Afghan officials said that to them, the office looked far too much like the embassy of a government-in-exile, with its own flag and a nameplate reading “The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.” Within days, the Qatar initiative stalled, and Mr. Karzai was fuming at what he saw as a plot by the United States to cut its own deal with Pakistan and the Taliban without him.

    All these negotiations, if what officials are saying is correct. was without U.S. and Taliban officials never being present in he same room at the same time.

    Sammy Finkelman (c3c6b4)

  16. 15. Obama considered replacing Carney with Psaki, but decided to leave her at State (according to the New York Times’ sources, because she got along well with John Kerry)

    Sammy Finkelman (c3c6b4)

  17. And, she did not have sex with that camel…but he was a two-humper.

    askeptic (8ecc78)

  18. When even Candy Crowley doesn’t buy your story, you need to get another one.

    narciso (3fec35) — 6/1/2014 @ 10:23 pm

    I don’t know, there were a lot of “right”s and “sure”s in response to Rice’s most absurd comments. Was Crowley being sarcastic?

    J Curtis (063253)

  19. Since two of the five Taliban are wanted by the ICC for War Crimes, does that make Obama guilty of Obstruction of Justice, and is that a High Crime, or Misdemeanor?

    askeptic (8ecc78)

  20. So the campaign promises mean nothing. The statements to the press mean nothing.

    It doesn’t hurt to assume that anything said publicly by identifiable members of the current administration is nothing more than a steaming pile of horsecrap. That’s what seems to end up being, more often than not…

    Blacque Jacques Shellacque (d3cdd0)

  21. the thing about lying whores is, a lot of times what they say isn’t the truth

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  22. I’m beginning to think the did the deal because they’re going to release everyone at Guantanamo soon anyway and figured “might as well get something for it.” The thing with Qatar is simply a dry run. Tying up loose ends.

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  23. Extremely interesting, and informed, perspective on who we ultimately dealt with:

    It was not Taliban. It was Haqqani.

    Ed from SFV (3400a5)

  24. I am a stupid shit, because I live in the land of Faciachusetts.

    mg (31009b)

  25. So this guy was drunk and went looking for more dope. Lets see that means president sfb exchanged 5 terrorists for a deserter?

    mg (31009b)

  26. “did not necessarily presage the resumption of the broader, on-again-off-again peace talks to end the 13-year war.”

    What is this statement about negotiating the terms to end the 13 year war? Are there conditions? Does the Taliban and Al Qaeda have its own set of conditions or demands? When ever in the US media have we ever heard about any conditions by either party?

    Given that we’ve been at war, I’ve always considered the prisoners at Guantánamo to be POWs. Under that condition, they would be held without review until the end of the war. The “end of the war quote would mean either the parties reach an agreement, or somebody surrenders. As apparently America has deemed the war over, then there would be no conditions to swapping prisoners.

    E Bickmann (61851e)

  27. The more I read about this the more my stomach aches.
    It’s time to be more selective in who you give your money to when buying goods and services. It’s easy for me to cut ties with the mainstream. I only do business with conservative minded individuals. It has let me feel productive in a defiant manner. Happy Face.

    mg (31009b)

  28. Don’t be silly. Susan Rice would never go on TV and lie.

    Peter (1d4db1)

  29. the Haqquani network, is one of the leading Taliban factions, they held reporters Rohde and Van Dyck

    narciso (3fec35)

  30. This is what happens when you don’t win wars. When you end them in the absence of victory.

    When you retreat in shame, you must make shameful deals to get your prisoners back.

    President Bieber thinks he’s an innovator.

    Keep this in mind as Prom Queen continues the tribute we pay to the MB in form of the so-called unity government including Hamas.

    King Putt will call it foreign aid. The Muslims will call it the Jizya, which a conquered people owe to them as a sign of their submission.

    Steve57 (61329d)

  31. I have said this before and, although it sounds indecorous, it rings true: Were it not for Obama – and Clinton before him – this woman, much like her principal sponsor, Valerie Jarrett, would not only NOT HAVE any prominent role in any American Presidency but would not be able to gain a foothold in even an academe so essentially compromised by PC norms and mores that it too qualifies as a “national disgrace.” So, what we have here (in Susan Rice) is the spectacle of someone with what is in the real world, at best, the skill set of an average secretary in the private economy actually elevated to the status of a cabinet secretary. Unbelievable!

    Mark S. Devenow Esq. (3c872b)

  32. But Steve, that’s so 19th (I mean 20th Century)

    narciso (3fec35)

  33. Two things come to mind here: 1) there is nothing this administration can’t/won’t Fu*k up and 2) as has been said, the law is merely a suggestion to these people.

    Colonel Haiku (a21054)

  34. Beg to differ, Coronello. More than two things come to mind.

    Steve57 (61329d)

  35. 30. Steve57 (61329d) — 6/2/2014 @ 6:29 am

    Keep this in mind as Prom Queen continues the tribute we pay to the MB in form of the so-called unity government including Hamas.

    The Obama Administration is actually opposed to that, but the problem is, the Palestinian Authority, and peace negotiations, is:


    Sammy Finkelman (c3c6b4)

  36. I haven’t had my coffee yet, Steve, so I’m not running on 8 cylinders quite yet.

    Colonel Haiku (9e9af6)

  37. this kabuki has been running long than the last season of Breaking Bad

    narciso (3fec35)

  38. Sammy, you continue to exhibit a quality which prevents me from writing you off.

    Steve57 (61329d)


    At its core, “The Wrong Enemy” is a searing exposé of Pakistan’s involvement in the Afghan war, which Ms. Gall drives home in the book’s opening salvo. “Pakistan, not Afghanistan, has been the true enemy,” she pointedly writes…

    …Over the next several years, a sordid mix of Pakistan government officials, political parties and militant groups provided refuge and aid to the Taliban and other Afghan insurgents. According to Ms. Gall, the ISI even ran a special desk assigned to handle Osama bin Laden, a damnable accusation if true. (Ms. Gall credits an “inside source” and says she ran it by two United States officials who told her it was consistent with their conclusions.) This amalgam of support proved to be a lethal combination for the growing insurgency in Afghanistan that confounded United States policy makers.

    According to a RAND study I wrote several years ago, insurgencies that received support from external states achieved their aims more than 50 percent of the time, while those with no support won only 17 percent of the time. But that’s not all. Insurgents have been successful approximately 43 percent of the time when they enjoyed a sanctuary. Afghan insurgents enjoy both outside support and sanctuary, a doubly difficult hurdle for the United States and its allies to overcome.

    Don’t believe there’s some natural fierceness or something in Afghanistan that makes it difficult to defeat extremist groups.

    Note: Houghton-Mifflin has a marketing agreement with Hatchette, so the rviws seem to be misisng on, but it is too well-known not to deliver.

    There’s an advertisement there:

    Look up Carlotta Gall Wrong Enemy on Bing and Find More Information!

    I think

    Sammy Finkelman (c3c6b4)

  40. Sammy, Afghanistan is a giant doughnut hole. Nobody wants it. Which is why it’s not part of another country.

    The only thing you can export out of the place is opium.

    Steve57 (61329d)

  41. I agree, Simon Jester #1.

    David (b0b5ac)


    (About don’t do stupid…)

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  43. it’s more significant as the nexus between Persia and the Indian subcontinent, hence Alexander, the Romans, the Saracens, et al, have sought it

    narciso (3fec35)

  44. I figured it all out. Obama is to be commended and will ultimately be hailed in history as the father of an America re-dedicated to its Constitutional principles.

    He has been willing for 5+ years to subject himself to critiques and personal attacks all for our benefit. It became clear to him early on that America’s free press had lost sight of its essential role in protecting our birthrights and keeping the citizenry informed as our Forefathers intended. He saw how his skin color and political leanings were being used by the media as excuses to provide him political cover at the cost of an informed public.

    As a someone who taught about the Constitution for 10 years he could see the existential peril to the nation should it continue. So, he devised a strategy of pushing the envelope further and further until even the most disengaged citizen could see what was happening and would collectively demand a swift and across the board revamping of the media to its intended role

    I am in awe of his sacrifice. He really should be taking more credit for his success in this mission.

    [These White House and Department of Justice talking points were obtained through a FOIA request.]

    in_awe (7c859a)

  45. Have any of you read this book: “Shariah The Threat to America” ? It was published in 2010 by The Center for Security Policy. I am about half way through and if I haven’t been truly frightened for our country before, I am now definitely “a’skeered.” This was a team effort and one of the members is Andy McCarthy. A “must-read” — I highly recommend it. And lest you think it has nothing to do with the present conversation — oh, my … Steve57, this one’s for you; well, all of you.

    Karen Ferris (adef69)

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