Jun. 12, 2014

‘Trust Has Been Broken’

Hagel concedes, but then defends.

Speaking before a congressional committee concerning the ill-advised Bergdahl-Taliban swap, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel admitted that the decision to circumvent the Rule of Law severed any trust between Congress and Defense (not to mention the American people). “I value the Defense Department’s partnership … with this Congress, and the trust we’ve developed over the years,” he said. “I know that trust has been broken.” But following his concession, Hagel went into full defense mode: “I have always been straightforward, completely transparent with this committee, since I’ve been secretary of defense.” He added, “The circumstances surrounding my decisions were imperfect, and these decisions that have to lead to some kind of judgment always are. The president is in the same position. But you have to make a choice. You have to make a decision.” Unfortunately, this was a downright stupid one that has significant security implications. And next time Hagel testifies, he should do some prep work. He answered “I don’t know” roughly a dozen times.

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