It has been a virtual mantra of U.S. policy for decades that we do not negotiate with terrorists and never never pay ransoms. That is why a new report is so startling even though it has received relatively little attention. The Pentagon reportedly gave an unspecified but large amount of money to an Afghan for the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl and then found out the money and the Afghan disappeared without a trace. The Pentagon is denying that it tried to pay a ransom for Bergdahl.
Bergdahl was released in May through a prisoner swap by President Obama that violated U.S. law. The Administration did not reveal that it also paid this money to the fake negotiator. Worse yet, congressional sources say that the Administration denied that a payment was ever made for Bergdahl.
We have previously discussed the fact that our allies have given millions to Islamic State for hostages — a bizarre trade where the West is directly funding the terrorist group and reinforcing the market for taking more Western captives.
The money was reportedly handed over by the Army’s elite Delta Force anti-terrorism squad with the cooperation of the FBI. The Pentagon is now claiming that the money was not technically a ransom but money going to an intelligence source.
The story undermines our public claims on not paying ransoms and shows how fluid this line has become. There is also no indication of any repercussions for officials in giving such money to an Afghan who then just walked away with a fortune and a chuckle.