Amid complaints by congressional leaders that they were not informed of the swap of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, a tweet from Washington Post political reporter Wesley Lowery reports Senate Majority Harry Reid, D-Nev., was given a heads up the day before the announcement.
In defending his decision to return five Guantanamo Bay detainees to the Taliban in exchange for the release of Bergdahl on June 1, Obama has claimed a snap decision had to be made to save Bergdahl’s life.
“We saw an opportunity, and we were concerned about Bergdahl’s health. We had the cooperation of the Qataris to execute an exchange, and we seized that opportunity,” Obama has explained while traveling in Poland. “The process was truncated because we wanted to make sure we would not miss that window.”
“Harry Reid says he was called by the White House on Friday and told the Bergdahl swap was going to happen,” Lowery tweeted. “First [Democrat] to claim advance notice.”
Since Bergdahl’s release, the administration has faced questions over its decision to execute the swap without notifying Congress 30 days in advance, as required by law.
The administration has said it was forced to move quickly “due to a near-term opportunity to save Sgt. Bergdahl’s life.”
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, however, said Tuesday in a statement the administration “has invited serious questions into how this exchange went down and the calculations the White House and relevant agencies made in moving forward without consulting Congress despite assurance it would reengage with members on both sides of the aisle.”
GOP aides, furthermore, have claimed Obama officials first discussed the swap with senior House Republicans in late November 2011 and details of the proposed decision have been public since 2012.
House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard P. “Buck” McKeon, R-Calif., has pledged to hold hearings on the matter.
Lowery further tweeted that when Reid was asked if Obama violated the law by not consulting Congress, the senator responded, “I’ve been told no.”