House panel threatens to cut defense secretary budget over Bergdahl stonewalling

House panel threatens to cut defense secretary budget over Bergdahl stonewalling

The head of a powerful House panel is threatening to withhold defense funding over the department’s alleged stonewalling in a probe of the controversial swap of five Taliban leaders for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

Former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel had initially pledged to respond to questions, when lawmakers first demanded to know why the Pentagon had not given Congress the requisite 30-day notice before proceeding with the May 31 prisoner trade.

But nearly a year later, the Pentagon has released only a trickle of highly redacted emails from before the swap.

Republican lawmakers now plan to attempt the unusual step of locking down about $500 million — a quarter of the defense secretary’s office budget — until the Pentagon provides all the documents that the House Armed Services Committee has demanded as part of its investigation. Chairman Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, on Monday plans to introduce a provision to the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act to withhold the money from Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s office budget until they comply.

“It’s a strange posture for this department, because usually the committee has a better relationship with DoD,” a Hill source close to the investigation told Fox News. “It looks like the guidance they are receiving is coming from outside the building.”

Source: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2015/04/24/house-panel-threatens-to-cut-defense-secretary-budget-over-bergdahl/

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