NBC’s Richard Engel: Taliban Providing More Info on Bergdahl Than U.S. Government

Richard Engel, NBC’s Chief Foreign Correspondent, had some harsh words for the U.S. government’s refusal to provide the American public with information about the release of Sergeant Bergdhal in exchange for five Taliban prisoners. 

Appearing on MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Wednesday, June 4, Engel remarked that “We've actually been getting more information today from the Taliban than we have from spokespersons here at the hospital in Landstuhl.” [See video below.]    

Engel continued to chastise the U.S. government over the Bergdhal controversy: 

All they will say is in written statements that he's stable, that his health is stable, that he's receiving treatment. No indication how long he'll be here in Landstuhl, only that when he's medically ready, he'll be transferred back to the United States. The Taliban, however, have been very forthcoming with information. 

The NBC reporter concluded his criticism by noting that unlike the Obama Administration, the Taliban has been much more forthcoming surrounding Sergeant Bergdhal’s release: 

They released that video. They also released quite a few details about the video, saying that they were in direct communication or in communication with the Americans, that they had to work out the logistics of this transfer. That they agreed that when the helicopter landed, only three people would approach from either side, so three Americans from the helicopter, the two Taliban militants and Bergdahl, that they -- the Taliban needed to signal from the ground to the helicopter that it was, in fact, that group of Taliban that had him. 

So the Americans had initially requested that they shine a green light in the air. The Taliban went back and said, 'Well, we don't have a green light, how about a white flag?' The Americans said fine, this is all according to a Taliban spokesman. 

See relevant transcript below.


MSNBC 

Morning Joe

June 4, 2014

8:07 a.m. Eastern 

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Let’s bring in NBC Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel who’s in Landstuhl right now. Is there anything you can give us that you've obtained about Bowe Bergdahl's condition?

RICHARD ENGEL: We've actually been getting more information today from the Taliban than we have from spokespersons here at the hospital in Landstuhl. All they will say is in written statements that he's stable, that his health is stable, that he's receiving treatment. No indication how long he'll be here in Landstuhl, only that when he's medically ready, he'll be transferred back to the United States. The Taliban, however, have been very forthcoming with information. They released that video. They also released quite a few details about the video, saying that they were in direct communication or in communication with the Americans, that they had to work out the logistics of this transfer. That they agreed that when the helicopter landed, only three people would approach from either side, so three Americans from the helicopter, the two Taliban militants and Bergdahl, that they -- the Taliban needed to signal from the ground to the helicopter that it was, in fact, that group of Taliban that had him. So the Americans had initially requested that they shine a green light in the air. The Taliban went back and said, 'Well, we don't have a green light, how about a white flag?' The Americans said fine, this is all according to a Taliban spokesman. And you can see in the video they are carrying a white flag on a stick. The exchange is quite quick, it takes place on the ground in about a minute and then the American helicopter takes off with Bergdahl inside. The Taliban had reportedly told the Americans that they would have backup in the area and they claim that they had about 20 different fighters positioned in the area. The Americans also had extra assets on hand should this exchange go badly or had it been a trap.

Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center.