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US watchdog finds Pentagon broke law in Bergdahl transfer

Published on Aug 22, 2014 7:30 AM
 
A file picture obtained on June 1, 2014 shows Private First Class Bowe Bergdahl, before his capture by the Taliban in Afghanistan. The Defence Department violated US law by failing to alert Congress before releasing five Taleban members held at Guantanamo Bay military prison in exchange for Berghdal, a government watchdog agency said on Thursday. -- PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - The Defense Department violated US law by failing to alert Congress before releasing five Taleban members held at Guantanamo Bay military prison in exchange for a captured US soldier, a government watchdog agency said on Thursday.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) said the Pentagon broke the law by using money appropriated by Congress to carry out the transfer of Guantanamo prisoners without giving lawmakers the required 30-day notice.

"In addition, because DoD (the Department of Defense) used appropriated funds to carry out the transfer when no money was available for that purpose, DoD violated the Antideficiency Act" barring agencies from spending more than authorized, the GAO said in a letter posted on its website.

The GAO assessment had been requested by Republican lawmakers who were angered over the lack of notice they'd received about the US decision in May to transfer five Taliban prisoners to Qatar in exchange for the release of Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl.

 
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