There are those who believe that it is wrong to have concerns about the deal that freed Bowe Bergdahl, and that it is wrong to be concerned that Bergdahl may have been a deserter. Most of these people think that Republicans are cynically ginning up outrage about the Bergdahl story, and overplaying their hand in the process.
So I wonder how they will respond to the concerns of a former Democratic secretary of defense and director of central intelligence, who served in the Obama administration:
A former top adviser to President Obama on Wednesday questioned the release of dangerous terrorists in exchange for an imprisoned American soldier as anger spread among lawmakers in Washington over the secret deal to free Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.
“I don’t fault the administration for wanting to get him back. I do question whether the conditions are in place to make sure these terrorists don’t go back into battle,” former CIA director and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta told a gas industry gathering in Pittsburgh.
Panetta, who was in the Cabinet for four of the five years Bergdahl spent in Taliban custody, said he opposed a swap for the terrorists held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, when he was Defense secretary.
“I said, ‘Wait, I have an obligation under the law,’” Panetta said during a lunchtime address at the Hart Energy Developing Unconventionals DUG East conference at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Downtown. “If I send prisoners from Guantanamo, they have to guarantee they don’t go back to the battlefield. I had serious concerns.”
He said talks fell apart because the Taliban “asked for five top guys.” He did not say when during his 2011-13 tenure in the Pentagon that discussions took place.
“I just assumed it was never going to happen,” Panetta said.
The second paragraph of that excerpt basically sums up my position on this entire story. So, now that Panetta is expressing his reservations, is it all right for the rest of us to have reservations as well, or will the new story line be “Leon Panetta: Longstanding Member of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy”?