Bowe Bergdahl, Guantanamo Bay detainees swap broke law, watchdog group says

By Kyle Johnson,

A government watchdog group says that the trading five Guantanamo Bay detainees for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl broke the law.

The issue is that the Obama administration did not inform Congress of the plan 30 days ahead of the actual trade, the Government Accountability Office said in a legal opinion to Congress, USA Today reports.

Congress was not informed of the swap until the same day, May 31, that it actually occurred, which also means that Congress could not authorize the cost of the trade. That violates the Antideficiency Act and could result in a two year prison sentence, one which is rarely enforced, should anyone be found guilty.

The Pentagon told the watchdog group that $988,400 was spent by the Department of the Defense during the transfer for Bergdahl.

The GAO had looked into the swap after Republican legislators learned about it, as they were furious they weren't informed ahead of time, according to Reuters. Senator Saxby Chambliss slammed the move saying that President Barack Obama "completely disregarded laws" of Congress with the transfer.

The Pentagon has defended the swap for Bergdahl and lack of notice. "The administration had a fleeting opportunity to protect the life of a U.S. service member held captive," Rear Admiral John Kirby, press secretary, said.

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