GAO: Defense Department ‘Violated’ Two Laws in Bergdahl Prisoner Swap

August 21, 2014 - 2:10 PM

The Government Accountability Office issued an opinion today that found the Obama Administration "violated" two laws when it ordered the transfer of five high profile Taliban commanders in exchange for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s release from captivity.

The GAO finding came at the request of several Republican senators on June 13, 2014. Released today, the report states:

“We conclude that DOD violated section 8111 because it did not notify the relevant congressional committees at least 30 days in advance of the transfer.”

The seven-page report goes on to explain the purpose of the Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2014 and the applicable section 8111 that was violated by the Pentagon.

The report also details a second violation of law under the Antideficiency Act. This act states that an agency may not use appropriated funds "in a manner specifically prohibited by law." The GAO found that because the DOD violated section 8111 of the Defense Authorization Act, it too violated the Antideficiency Act by using funds to transport the prisoners from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to Qatar:

"As a consequence of using its appropriations in a manner specifically prohibited by law, DOD violated the Antideficiency Act."

Sgt. Bergdahl is currently in the United States and has been questioned by military authorities about his suspected desertion of his base in Afghanistan in 2009. That investigation is ongoing.