Pentagon Doesn’t Negotiate with Terrorists or Pay Ransoms … Except for When it Does

In a recent revelation, the Pentagon apparently tried to pay a ransom for Bowe Bergdahl, and the money went to an Afghan con man instead:

The ransom payment was first disclosed by Rep. Duncan Hunter in a Nov. 5 letter to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. Mr. Hunter stated in the letter that Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) made the payment covertly as part of a release deal. But the money was stolen by the Afghan intermediary claiming to represent the Haqqani terrorist network.

“Given the significance of this matter, as well as the fact that Pentagon officials have denied that a payment was even considered — and you also said you were unaware of any such attempt — I ask you to immediately inquire with JSOC to determine the specific order of events,” said Mr. Hunter, California Republican and member of the House Armed Services Committee.

Eventually the Pentagon was able to negotiate a trade for five terrorists in order to secure Bergdahl’s release. Bergdahl is now under investigation for possible desertion. So, in other words, the whole thing is a mess.

And one of the worst parts of the whole story is the fact that the Executive branch and the Pentagon has been adamant that they do not negotiate with terrorists or pay ransoms. They have argued that such negotiations and ransoms only encourage terrorists to kidnap people and threaten the safety of American citizens abroad.

So why is the Pentagon paying ransoms (to con men no less) and negotiating for the release of hostages? That sounds exactly like what they said they will not do. Or are they just saying they will do it, but they won’t publicize it? It’s hard to say.

It was already the case that I did not trust the civil government. But the most recent revelations of their total lack of transparency have not bolstered my confidence. To say the least.