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What Did Obama and Rice Know?

8:25 AM, Jun 3, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
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The New York Times reports that Bowe Bergdahl made it clear to those he served with that he was going AWOL.

"Sometime after midnight on June 30, 2009, Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl left behind a note in his tent saying he had become disillusioned with the Army, did not support the American mission in Afghanistan and was leaving to start a new life," reads today's Times report. "He slipped off the remote military outpost in Paktika Province on the border with Pakistan and took with him a soft backpack, water, knives, a notebook and writing materials, but left behind his body armor and weapons — startling, given the hostile environment around his outpost."

But did President Obama and his national security adviser, Susan Rice, know about that note? Did they know that there was a claim Bergdahl had gone AWOL and that he hadn't been "captured on the battlefield?"

On Sunday, Rice went on a Sunday TV talk show and claimed that Bergdahl "served the United States with honor and distinction" and that "Sergeant Bergdahl wasn't simply a hostage; he was an American prisoner of war captured on the battlefield." 

And yesterday Obama's spokesman Jay Carney wouldn't answer the question of whether Bergdahl deserted:

Q    And has it been determined yet whether he was a deserter?

     MR. CARNEY:  The first and foremost thing that we have to recognize here is that Sergeant Bergdhal was in captivity for five years, held against his will.  And it was absolutely the right thing to do, consistent with our tradition in the United States to secure his return. 

     The Defense Department will -- obviously has been and will continue to be the lead in terms of evaluating all of the circumstances surrounding his initial detention and his captivity, and that process continues obviously directly with Sergeant Bergdhal now that he is in U.S. care. 

     But I would point you again to what Chairman Dempsey said, and what Secretary of Defense Hagel said, and what so many others have said about the ethos that we here in the United States abide by when it comes to men and women who are taken prisoner during armed conflicts, and the history of this government taking actions to secure the return of our POWs is very full.

     Let me move around a little bit.

Is it possible Obama and Rice weren't briefed on the circumstances surrounding Bergdahl's separation from his platoon in Afghanistan?

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