Did President Obama disregard the law? he is not above it, he must respect it

Obama Bergdahl

The law (2014 National Defense Authorization Act) requires that President Obama notify Congress 30 days before releasing anyone from Gitmo. He did not do that. He unilaterally released the 5 from Gitmo a few days ago. He claims he had no choice – that there were urgent circumstances (Bergdahl’s health and a window of opportunity.)

I am all for taking advantages of a rare window of opportunity if indeed urgent (and REAL – but VERY RARE WITH NO GOOD ALTERNATIVES – emergencies can arise excusing one from strict compliance with a law) but the President should have simply picked up the phone and notified Senate Majority Leader Reid, Speaker Boehner and the Chairs of the Senate Intel Committee and House Intel Committee. Those calls would have taken 3 minutes and he could even have dispatched his Vice President to make the calls. Had he made those calls, it would show he did not have a disregard for the law, but that he understands the law and respects it. It may not have complied with the letter of the law but would have shown no intent to violate the law.

His failure to make those simple calls – or some similar quick notification – shows a disturbing disregard for the law.

PS – if it turns out he did make those calls and they were not reported, they should have been and in a widespread manner. I have not seen a report about those calls.

And if it turns out he made those calls before the release of the 5 from Gitmo but Members of Congress are hiding that fact, shame on them. That would be dirty.


Notes about the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act: there is not only a 30 day notification requirement, but also this: the administration must make the determination that the risk posed by the release of the Gitmo detainee will be substantially mitigated and that the transfer is in the national security interests of the United States.