Chambliss: We Knew About Bin Laden -- Why Not Taliban-Bergdahl Deal?

June 9, 2014 - 6:25 AM

chambliss

Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) (AP File Photo)

(CNSNews.com) - Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), the ranking member of the intelligence committee, says he’s routinely briefed on top-secret operations, including the hunt for Osama bin Laden, before they’re complete.

“[I]t's kind of puzzling as to why they did not let us know in advance that this was going to happen,” he told CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday, referring to the deal in which five Taliban terrorists were released from Guantanamo Bay in exchange for the freedom of U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

“[Sen.] Dianne [Feinstein] and I knew for months and months what was suspected relative to the location of bin Laden. We had a pretty good idea of what they were going to do, and I'll never forget the phone call I got from an excited Leon Panetta telling me that bin Laden had been taken down.

“Those types of things are briefed to us on a regular basis. Not a day goes by, Bob, that I don't get briefed on some classified aspect of our intelligence community, a lot of which is ongoing operations.”

Chambliss said the administration has "acted very strangely" about the Bergdahl situation:

“[W]hen Bergdahl was let go, what we were told and what the public was told is that because of a video that was made apparently in December of last … that Bergdahl looked like he had lost 10 to 15 pounds, he was in poor health, and they were concerned that if they did not make this exchange, that his life would be in danger as a result of bad health. Well, no intelligence supported that.

“And now they come back and because he is in decent health, considering where he's been, they've changed their story. They said, well, you know, we suspect his life may be in danger, if word got out of this pending possible trade that his life may be in danger.

”Again, I can just tell you there is no intelligence to support that, and Director Clapper has already made that same statement. So the whole scenario surrounding this is very, very strange.”

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) told “Face the Nation” that the Obama administration kept details of the Bergdahl-Taliban swap “too close.”

Both she and Chambliss were told about the deal after it happened.