Now this is interesting.
The General Accounting Office has just issued a report concluding that the Department of Defense broke the law in the Bergdahl-Taliban swap (h/t @JakeTapper). It has to do with the requirement of congressional notification prior to transferring a detainee at Gitmo.
Bowe Bergdahl was swapped for 5 high level Taliban Gitmo detainees with no notice to Congress.
Here’s the Summary of the GAO report:
The Department of Defense (DOD) violated section 8111 of the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2014 when it transferred five individuals detained at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to the nation of Qatar without providing at least 30 days notice to certain congressional committees. Section 8111 prohibits DOD from using appropriated funds to transfer any individuals detained at Guantanamo Bay unless the Secretary of Defense notifies certain congressional committees at least 30 days before the transfer. As a consequence of using its appropriations in a manner specifically prohibited by law, DOD also violated the Antideficiency Act.
The full report is here, and concludes as follows:
Our opinion in this matter rests upon the Secretary of Defense’s responsibility to comply with a notification condition on the availability of appropriations to transfer individuals from Guantanamo Bay. This opinion does not address the Secretary’s decision to transfer the five individuals in this case as part of DOD’s efforts to secure the release of an American soldier. However, when DOD failed to notify specified congressional committees at least 30 days in advance of its transfer of Guantanamo Bay detainees to Qatar, DOD used appropriated funds in violation of section 8111. As a consequence of using its appropriations in a manner specifically prohibited by law, DOD violated the Antideficiency Act. See 31 U.S.C. § 1341(a). DOD should report its Antideficiency Act violation as required by law.
So what? Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch says the penalties are pretty significant:
@jaketapper Penalties for violating this law can include removal from office, fines, and up to two years in jail.
— Tom Fitton (@TomFitton) August 21, 2014
Question: Who can be removed from office? I claim no familiarity with that law, but that would seem to be the question of the day. Hagel? Someone higher up, or lower down?
Or is this another, “so the administration broke the law, what are you going to do about it?” moment? Wait, don’t answer that.DONATE
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