Defense & National Security

Sen. Feinstein says ‘it’s hard to be comfortable’ with the Bergdahl deal

Sen. Feinstein says 'it's hard to be comfortable' with the Bergdahl deal

Man, there sure are a lot of Democrats climbing on board the Republican Scandal Machine these days.  Just for fun, go back and re-read Dana Milbank’s embarrassing Washington Post screed on that subject today, knowing what we’ve learned about the Bowe Bergdahl affair since he wrote it.  Pretty much everything he whined about as a product of the Republican Scandal Machine has now been confirmed or repeated by a Democrat, with the signature difference that Democrats adamantly refuse to draw the parallels to Benghazi that upset Milbank so much.

Quite a bit of that confirmation and repetition has been coming from Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), who chairs the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.  She’s been critical of the Administration for failing to keep Congress informed, and she’s called them out for saying things that are “not necessarily true” in their efforts to either deny they broke the law, or explain why they did it – including both the White House’s attempt to claim that Bergdahl would have been killed if they notified Congress, and their claim that swift action was necessary because he was in failing health.

About half of that Milbank column is him pretending to be a small child who doesn’t understand how the cloud of phony Administration spin on Bergdahl would remind people of the phony Administration spin on Benghazi.  Here’s a big part of it, Mr. Milbank: the tendency of this Administration to let its media team spin a web of lies around everything it does, then panic and get their stories tangled up when someone calls them on it.  They’re so busy analyzing every action for political gain or loss that they become blind to most other considerations.

Feinstein also said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” this weekend that it was “hard to be comfortable” with the release of the Taliban Five, and seemed rather dubious about the Administration’s claims that it can keep a watchful eye on those little rascals.

Also not amused by the White House’s conduct during the Bergdahl affair: Pentagon officials.  That’s according to retired General Jack Keane, who told Chris Wallace of Fox News the military leaders he keeps in touch with are “outraged that the President, at the Rose Garden ceremony, was actually promoting an event in terms of public relations.”

Keane also thought putting Bergdahl’s family “in front of the cameras like that and begin a celebration,” after years of advice from the Pentagon brass to keep a low profile, “created not only anguish among those who were his teammates and those who may have lost his lives in rescuing him, but senior military leaders looked at that and just shook their head and said, ‘Why are we doing something like that?’”

Also unexpectedly signing up for a turn at the pedals of the Republican Scandal Machine: MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell, who laid into State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf, refusing to let Harf get away with drawing parallels between the Bergdahl deal and the raid in which Osama bin Laden was killed.  (Would Dana Milbank blow the whistle on that, or is it only comparisons with Benghazi that annoy him?)

Here’s more fun and games with Marie Larf, as she tries to catch another big shoe in the Bergdahl scandal before it drops, and ends up failing to flatly deny that a cash ransom was paid for his release, either by the U.S. government or third-party intermediaries.  (The Washington Free Beacon counts this as the third time State Department officials have refused to confirm or deny a cash payment, something those with knowledge of the Haqqani gang network – Bergdahl’s actual captors – say they would have insisted upon, having little interest in the Taliban prisoners Obama released.)  That would mean the Obama Administration funded a terrorist group, folks.

Ron Fournier at National Journal writes that the Bergdahl swap “is the latest last straw for top Democrats frustrated with the President’s leadership.”  He describes a trenchant email from “one of the most powerful Democrats in Washington,” angry at how the “tone-deaf and arrogant” White House “mishandled its obligation to communicate effectively and honestly to Congress and the public.”

Neither Fournier nor his irate Democrat correspondent could be described as fans of the Republican Party, or cogs in its Scandal Machine.  Last week was tough for harried Obama apologists, because the White House story changed every day last week, sometimes more than once per day.  But it’s no longer possible for anyone to claim that skepticism about the Bergdahl deal is emanating solely from Republicans and conservative media.

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