The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has announced that the Obama administration broke the law when they traded five high-ranking Taliban terrorists for Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl.
The government watchdog agency posted their decision online, saying the Pentagon violated the Department of Defense Appropriations Act and the Antideficiency Act.
The summary verdict reads:
The Department of Defense (DOD) violated section 8111 of the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2014 when it transferred five individuals detained at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to the nation of Qatar without providing at least 30 days notice to certain congressional committees. Section 8111 prohibits DOD from using appropriated funds to transfer any individuals detained at Guantanamo Bay unless the Secretary of Defense notifies certain congressional committees at least 30 days before the transfer. As a consequence of using its appropriations in a manner specifically prohibited by law, DOD also violated the Antideficiency Act.
The Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2014 requires that the Pentagon notify certain congressional committees of a potential detainee transfer.
The Antideficiency Act “prohibits federal agencies from incurring obligations exceeding an amount available in an appropriation.” This violation by the Department of Defense must be reported.
The GAO conclusion reads:
Our opinion in this matter rests upon the Secretary of Defense’s responsibility to comply with a notification condition on the availability of appropriations to transfer individuals from Guantanamo Bay. This opinion does not address the Secretary’s decision to transfer the five individuals in this case as part of DOD’s efforts to secure the release of an American soldier. However, when DOD failed to notify specified congressional committees at least 30 days in advance of its transfer of Guantanamo Bay detainees to Qatar, DOD used appropriated funds in violation of section 8111. As a consequence of using its appropriations in a manner specifically prohibited by law, DOD violated the Antideficiency Act. See 31 U.S.C. § 1341(a). DOD should report its Antideficiency Act violation as required by law.
The verdict is a legal opinion that will not lead to further measures, but should the DOD report their Antideficiency Act violation as they must, it would then go to Congress and the President.
The GAO is described as “an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for Congress.”
Earlier this year we reported that the Bergdahl/Taliban swap would show that the Obama administration broke the law.
President Obama’s trade of five high-ranking Taliban commanders for Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl was a violation of federal law (at least) when he failed to notify Congress, something a leading policy expert described as a violation of the separation of powers and “a serious challenge to the Constitution.”
The terrorist release for Bergdahl was without a doubt a victory for terrorists over America. Aside from the obvious military victory in having high-ranking officials back in the fold, the move makes it more likely to embolden the terrorist organization to use hostages in a negotiation with the United States.
Note that very recently, ISIS beheaded an American journalist and used another in a threat to have President Obama cease airstrikes in northern Iraq.
Where did they get the idea that America would negotiate with terrorists? From the Bergdahl trade.