House Speaker John A. Boehner said Tuesday he rejected the White House’s latest explanation for keeping Congress in the dark about the swap for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, saying that top leaders in Congress were able to be briefed ahead of the Osama bin Laden strike and should have been consulted this time.
“This idea that they couldn’t trust us to not leak things is just not true,” he said.
Late last week the White House said it decided not to consult with Congress because officials were afraid the pending trade could be leaked, putting Sgt. Bergdahl’s life in danger. Officials speculated the Taliban might have even killed him if details had leaked.
But members of Congress said there are procedures in place to alert a small group of lawmakers — the top party leaders and the top members of the intelligence committees — in order to get approval.
None of them were consulted in the swap that sent five Taliban fighters to Qatar in exchange for Sgt. Bergdahl. When the administration had raised the possibility of a prisoner swap several years ago, those in Congress who were briefed on the matter were unanimous in their opposition, The Washington Times reported last week.
Mr. Boehner said U.S. troops are now in more danger because of the precedent the Obama administration set.
“We’re going to pay for this,” he said.