- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 6, 2014

Rep. Duncan Hunter wrote a letter to the Pentagon alleging that U.S. authorities tried to pay cash to win the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was held captive for nearly five years by the terrorist Haqqani Network in Pakistan.

Mr. Duncan requested in his letter that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel look into the matter and ask the Joint Special Operations Command for further information, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The California Republican, who’s a member of the House Armed Services Committee, alleges in his letter that the U.S. military tried to make the payment to an Afghan intermediary. But the Pentagon has denied making any such attempt, the Wall Street Journal reported.

“As part of the ongoing examination into specifics involving the captivity and release of … Bergdahl, I have asked Pentagon officials on multiple occasions whether a ransom was ever considered, attempted or paid for Bergdahl. Thus far, these officials have told me — in officials settings even — that a ransom was never considered or attempted,” Mr. Hunter wrote.

But those denials are now on shaky ground, he said.



“It has been brought to my attention that a payment was made to an Afghan intermediary who ‘disappeared’ with the money and failed to facilitate Bergdahl’s release in return,” Mr. Hunter wrote. “The payment was made in January-February 2014, according to sources.”

Mr. Hunter concluded by asking that “you immediately inquire with JSOC [Joint Special Operations Command] to … confirm whether a payment of any kind was considered and/or paid — and whether the same consideration, for others in captivity, is still being given by JSOC,” the letter stated.

Mr. Bergdahl was taken captive in 2009 and ultimately freed in 2014, after the Obama administration released five Taliban prisoners from Guantanamo Bay. Republicans, especially, criticized the deal, saying it was tantamount to cutting a deal with terrorists — an act that stands in conflict with normal U.S. policy and that ultimately endangers America.

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