Two top lawmakers on the Senate Intelligence Committee said Tuesday that the Obama administration broke the law by not informing Congress before the prisoner exchange that resulted in Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s release.
Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss said the administration violated the law by failing to address serious concerns they had about the deal to swap Bergdahl for five Taliban detainees. Chambliss said he had not had a conversation with the White House about a possible exchange for at least 18 months.
"It comes to us with some surprise and dismay that the transfers went ahead with no consultation, totally not following law," Feinstein told reporters following a closed door meeting. "And in an issue with this kind of concern to a committee that bears the oversight responsibility, I think you can see that we're very dismayed about it ."
Both also said they do not believe the soldier’s health was a factor in the decision. The White House said Bergdahl’s deteriorating medical state was a reason they did not have time to inform Congress before securing the deal.
The senators also said a White House official contacted them to apologize for not giving advance warning.
-- NBC's Andrew Rafferty and Katie Wall contributed to this report.
First published June 3 2014, 2:24 PM
Kelly Oâ€™Donnell was named Capitol Hill correspondent in December 2007. She contributes to all NBC News properties, including â€œNightly News with Brian Williams,â€ â€œTODAY,â€ and MSNBC. Oâ€™Donnell previously served as White House correspondent for NBC News covering the second term of President George W. Bush from May 2005 to December 2007. Prior to that, Oâ€™Donnell followed a broad range of stories as an NBC News correspondent based in New York City and Los Angeles. She has also served as news anchor for the weekend edition of "TODAY," and as a substitute anchor for other NBC News broadcasts.
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An award winning reporter, O'Donnell was inducted into the Ohio Radio/Television Broadcasters Hall of Fame in September 2004. She has received a regional Emmy Award for outstanding live reporting of an Ohio prison riot, and has received several national Emmy nominations. O'Donnell also received two first place awards from the Los Angeles Press Club for feature reporting, and has twice been part of the "Nightly News" team honored with an Edward R. Murrow Award in 1999 and in 2006.
Oâ€™Donnell first joined NBC News as a correspondent in 1994. Before that, she anchored and reported for WJW-TV, then the CBS affiliate in Cleveland, Ohio. O'Donnell began her broadcast career at WJW-TV as an associate producer and reporter and graduated from Northwestern University.