Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Hmm: Did the US Also Pay a Ransom As Part of the Bergdahl Deal?

This is a theory first floated (to my knowledge) by bestselling author Brad Thor, whose piece I linked last week. Now the Washington Free Beacon has tracked down a senior US intelligence official who effectively endorses the idea as not just plausible, but likely -- a conclusion buttressed by his extensive experience dealing with the Haqqani network. Some context: Prior to his release, Bowe Bergdahl was being held by members of the Haqqani network, a US-designated terrorist organization. Haqqani and the Taliban are not one in the same, with the former group acting as a crime syndicate with a radical Islamist agenda. They're "80 percent Tony Soprano and 20 percent Al Qaeda," is how Thor put it in a telephone conversation last week. According to this official, Haqqani would be more interested in being compensated monetarily than in a prisoner/hostage trade, especially one in which they were not the primary beneficiary. Recall that of the five jihadi commanders freed in the deal, four were Taliban, and only one was (arguably) primarily Haqqani. Fox News also reported that the US paying a cash ransom for Bergdahl was under discussion as recently as December, so this isn't purely or baselessly speculative:
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