The Obama administration broke the law earlier this year by secretly ordering the swap of five Guantanamo Bay detainees in return for American prisoner of war Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, according to a new report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office.
The report, released Thursday, faulted the Department of Defense for transferring the five detainees to Qatar without giving a heads up to congressional committees 30 days in advance, as required by the law. Citing the Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2014, the GAO said in a summary that, “Section 8111 prohibits DOD from using appropriated funds to transfer any individuals detained at Guantanamo Bay unless the secretary of defense notifies certain congressional committees at least 30 days before the transfer.”
It also said the Pentagon violated the Antideficiency Act by spending money on this swap in a “manner specifically prohibited by law.”
The U.S. Government Accountability Office bills itself as an “independent, nonpartisan agency that works for Congress.” Bergdahl’s release in May sparked outrage in the United States after more was learned about the terms of his release and the circumstances of his disappearance while serving in Afghanistan.