In the face of a growing public relations storm over the trade of five Taliban detainees for one U.S. Army soldier, the Obama administration now says the final call was made by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.
During a closed-door briefing with congressmen Monday, one House member asked who made the final call to go ahead with the deal, according to The Weekly Standard.
The administration placed the responsibility squarely Hagel, according to House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon, R-Calif.
“Now, wait a minute. Are you saying it was Secretary Hagel that made this decision, or was this the president of the United States?” McKeon told reporters in recounting the conversation, according to The Standard. “It was the president of the United States that came out with the Bergdahls and took all the credit. And now that there’s been a little pushback, he’s moving away from it?”
That version of events conflicts with Hagel’s comment on “Meet the Press” on June 1, when he said, “I signed off on the decision. The president made the ultimate decision.”
House members told The Standard that the only thing they learned from the briefing was that Obama no longer wanted to take credit for the trade. Still, the White House offered no explanation for why Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., was the only one told ahead of time of the intended swap — a communication breakdown that frustrated some House members.
“They couldn’t brief a single member of Congress because they didn’t trust us, yet the Qataris knew about it,” Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan.,
said, according to The Standard. “It’s phenomenal.”
“They’re trying to put lipstick on a pig,” Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., added. “We heard nothing except continued excuses about why they didn’t come to Congress.”
Twitter was abuzz over the latest development. Tweets like these compiled by Twitchy show many are not buying Obama’s sudden disinterest in taking responsibility:
— OutFrontCNN (@OutFrontCNN) June 9, 2014
Sec of Defense Hagel taking the fall for Obama’s bonehead Bergdahl trade. This administration knows the populace is completely ignorant. — Chris Velcro (@Velcro108) June 9, 2014
Could this mean a Hagel’s resignation could be in the works? One Twitter user thinks so, tweeting:
— Mary Burcham (@QueenOfScott) June 9, 2014
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