FLASHBACK: Carney in 2013: No Bergdahl Decision Will Happen ‘Without Consulting Congress’

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White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said nearly a year ago that no decisions about bringing about the return of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl through detainee transfer would be done “without consulting Congress.”

“With regard to the transfer of Taliban detainees from Guantanamo Bay, we have made — the United States has not made the decision to do that, though we do expect the Taliban to raise this issue in our discussion, if and when those discussions happen,” Carney said. “As we have long said, however, we would not make any decisions about transfer of any detainees without consulting with Congress and without doing so in accordance with U.S. law.”

Carney made the remarks at the press briefing on June 21, 2013. Less than a year later, Congress was not informed as the Obama administration agreed to release five Taliban leaders in exchange for Bergdahl.

Full exchange:

Q: Jay, going to back to Afghanistan, the Taliban has offered to release Bowe Bergdahl in exchange for five members of the Taliban who are currently being held at Guantanamo Bay. Is this something that the administration is considering? Is this something that the President would agree to?

JAY CARNEY:  What I can tell you is that the main dialogue that we support is the dialogue between Afghans — between the Taliban and the Afghan government.  However, there are some issues that we would like to discuss with the Taliban directly, and this includes the safe return of Sergeant Bergdahl, who has been gone for far too long. We continue to call for and work toward his safe and immediate release.  We cannot discuss all the details of our efforts, but there should be no doubt that on a daily basis we are continuing to pursue — using our military, intelligence and diplomatic tools — the effort to return him home safely.  And our hearts are with the Bergdahl family. With regard to the transfer of Taliban detainees from Guantanamo Bay, we have made — the United States has not made the decision to do that, though we do expect the Taliban to raise this issue in our discussion, if and when those discussions happen. As we have long said, however, we would not make any decisions about transfer of any detainees without consulting with Congress and without doing so in accordance with U.S. law.

Q: So you haven’t ruled it out?

CARNEY:  I’m simply saying that — first of all, you have to separate the two issues.  We are focused on the return  — the safe and immediate return of Sergeant Bergdahl, and we continue to use the tools at our disposal to help bring that about. We also expect the Taliban to raise the issue of their detainees in discussions that we have with them if those discussions take place.  And at this time we’ve made no decisions about the transfer of detainees.  And in accordance with law, we would be consulting with Congress should we make any decisions about that.

[H/T Weekly Standard]