On Thursday, Congressman Steve Stockman (R-TX) sent a letter to the White House asking if the Obama Administration authorized any payment to the Haqqani terrorist network in exchange for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. The question is actually a fair one given Haqqani’s history of demanding ransom for prisoners.
According to a press release from Stockman’s office, the Haqqani Network has demanded ransom for high-profile captives in the past, including $5 million for Afghan diplomat Haji Khaliq Farahi and $15 million for New York Times journalist David Rohde. Rohde ultimately escaped before his ransom was collected.
The White House has not explicitly responded to Stockman’s letter. When Townhall columnist Guy Benson reached out on Twitter, a White House official directed him to a blog post that quotes national security staff spokeswomen Caitlin Hayden, who had apparently commented on the ransom claims previously.
“The United States did not provide money in return for Sgt. Bergdahl,” Hayden said.
On radio this morning, Glenn touched on several reports about Bergdahl’s release and the Obama Administration’s actions. While the validity of these reports varies, Glenn, Pat, and Stu couldn’t help but consider the sympathy President Obama feels for Bergdahl on an ideological level.
“This is interesting… It seems like Obama… has liked this story and probably does feel something special for this soldier because he's more aligned with how Obama would be as a soldier,” Stu said. “You know, a guy very conflicted by what he's doing. He doesn't actually believe in a lot of the stuff that they're doing.”
Through published emails exchanges with his parents, Bergdahl expressed his frustration with the U.S. military and the U.S. mission in Afghanistan. Glenn believes President Obama could identify with that mindset.
“I think this is a guy that the president absolutely identifies with… He's wearing the uniform of the president of United States, the flag lapel pin and everything else… He doesn't agree with it. His wife hates the White House. They live there because that's where the president is supposed to live,” Glenn concluded. [But] there are certain things that he takes direct interest in. And I'll bet you, Stu, you're right, that he does see this guy and recognize his plight. He's a guy who went over there, was just trying to help the Afghani people and he is more sympathetic to the Muslim cause.”