Feinstein not sold on idea of ‘credible threat’ against Bergdahl if deal leaked


Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said in an interview that will air later Friday that she does not think there was a "credible threat" against the life or safety of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's life or safety had word of the deal to bring him home leaked in advance, putting her at odds with Obama administration officials.

"No, I don’t think there was a credible threat, but I don’t know," Feinstein said on "Political Capital with Al Hunt." "I have no information that there was."

Obama administration officials briefing senators this week justified not informing lawmakers in advance of the deal in part over fears doing so could have nixed the swap and endangered Bergdahl's life.

In exchange for Bergdahl's return, which came Saturday, the United States released five Taliban commanders who'd been detained at Guantanamo Bay. The commanders must remain in Qatar for at least a year.

Many lawmakers were angered by the administration's decision not to notify Congress of the transfer, as required by the law.

In the briefing, senators were also shown a video meant as proof that Bergdahl's health was declining in late 2013 and that time was of the essence. Feinstein did not sound convinced Bergdahl's life was in severe jeopardy.

"Well, that’s hard for me to tell," she said. "I don’t think that was -- had a clear distinction in the briefing we’ve had.  And there’s no question he was debilitated.  There was no question he was under stress -- blinking rapidly, probably held in dark surroundings for a long period of time.  I don’t know, but he’ll receive very good care and recover, and I think that’s what’s important."

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.
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