Since Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s release this weekend in exchange for five Guantanamo Bay detainees, criticism of the swap has emerged from fellow members of Bergdahl’s unit, who have decried him as a deserter whose actions cost the lives of six other service members. The criticism has been vocied through a variety of mediums, from Facebook groups to internet columns to appearances on The Kelly File.
Another avenue: a New York Times article published Monday, which quoted two of Bergdahl’s fellow service members — in interviews, the paper noted, arranged by GOP strategists:
Both the service members quoted via the strategist-arranged interviews went on to say they wanted to see Bergdahl court martialed as a result of his actions.
The strategists were not named by the Times:
Anyone know who the Republican strategists are arranging these Bergdahl call? I'd love to get a comment but they're so anonymous right now
— Sam Stein (@samsteinhp) June 3, 2014
Initially celebrated, Bergdahl’s release has since presented a tangle of problems for the White House, especially as questions are raised over whether the five Taliban prisoners released from GTMO were too high a price to pay for a soldier who possibly left his post in Afghanistan voluntarily before being kidnapped.
UPDATE 11:16 a.m.: Per BuzzFeed’s Rosie Gray and Kate Nocera, the Republican strategist is Richard Grenell, who was briefly Mitt Romney’s foreign policy advisor during the 2012 campaign, and often appears on Fox News.
Grenell’s partner at Capitol Media Partners confirmed his involvement. “Obviously Ric is a well known Republican and these guys found him on Twitter and reached out asking for help in getting their story out,” he told BuzzFeed. “Ric obviously saw that this is something that needed to be told and came to me and others in our firm, and I and some of the others determined that this was a story that we wanted to work on.”
[h/t New York Times]
[Image via screengrab]
Have a tip we should know? tip[email protected]