A spokesman for Hillary Clinton claims that the notion that his boss would have rejected the Bergdahl/Taliban trade out of hand is nonsense, and that “in fact, she authorized negotiations with the Taliban that included a transfer for Sgt. Bergdahl.”
Initially, Clinton seemed to praise President Obama and the “hard choices” he had to make regarding the deal. She defended the President in an interview with NBC News saying that she doesn’t want to second guess him, and added that it is “tradition” to not “leave any of our soldiers on the field.”
Shortly thereafter, Clinton’s aides told the Daily Beast that she “may not have even signed off if the negotiations had succeeded.” They added that she would have gotten a better deal by imposing “stricter measures” upon the terrorist organization.
Now her team is coming full circle, saying Clinton laid the groundwork for the Bergdahl deal to get done in the first place.
In the early discussions of a possible trade of prisoners with the Taliban to release captive Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, The Daily Beast reported last week in a story based on information from former State Department officials, Clinton had been skeptical of a trade for the soldier and wanted to do it only under very strict conditions.
Obama has come under intense criticism from Republicans for trading terror suspects in exchange for a soldier who’s been called a deserter. Democrats have offered a less than robust defense of the president.
Clinton’s concerns about a potential prisoner swap had been reported previously by Michael Hastings in Rolling Stone magazine in 2012, although without the same level of detail.
Nick Merrill, a Clinton spokesman, said the idea that Clinton “ever rejected a transfer like this out of hand is not accurate. In fact, she authorized negotiations with the Taliban that included a transfer for Sgt. Bergdahl.”
Democrats have had a difficult time citing accomplishments for Clinton during her tenure at the State Department. She now has two significant policy failures on her resume. Benghazi and Bergdahl.