Chuck Todd Peddles White House Talking Points, Insists ‘Taliban Leaders Have No American Blood On Their Hands’

Chuck Todd, NBC News Chief White House Correspondent, Political Director, and host of MSNBC’s The Daily Rundown, has been doing his best serving as White House stenographer as of late.

Appearing on MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Wednesday, June 4, Todd played up the White House’s justification for releasing five dangerous Taliban prisoners and argued “At some point you’ve got to do something with these folks. And these Taliban leaders they emphasize, have no American blood on their hands, at least as far as they know.” [See video below.]  

Todd’s comments came after an initial question from Morning Joe co-host Willie Geist about why National Security Advisor Susan Rice went on the Sunday talk shows on June 1 to proclaim that Sergeant Bergdahl served with honor and distinction.

Todd immediately spun for the Obama Administration: “People in the White House who spent time with Sergeant Bergdahl's family on Saturday got a little caught up in the moment itself and how can you not any time? I mean let's think about the very human nature here of parents not being able to see their son for five years.”

As the segment continued, Todd insisted that the White House “believed that there would be a sense of euphoria and relief about getting America's lone POW out of captivity and back to the United States.” The NBC reporter continued:

They did expect controversy and they did expect blow back but they thought the blow back would be over the release those Taliban members and frankly the start of what they expect to be a very rough debate as they, I think you'll see this White House potentially start escalating the release of some of these Guantanamo Bay detainees. 

Because what you're hearing as far as the rhetoric from the president is concerned, the war is coming to an end. And at some point you’ve got to do something with these folks. And these Taliban leaders they emphasize, have no American blood on their hands, at least as far as they know.  

Todd’s claim that the White House insists the five Taliban leaders “have no American blood on their hands” was completely false but the NBC reporter seemed to have no problem promoting the White House agenda. 

One of the detainees, Mullah Mohammad Fazi, the Taliban army chief of staff, is wanted by the United Nations for possible war crimes, and has ties to terrorist groups currently opposing U.S. and Coalition forces. 

Mullah Norullah Noori, a senior Taliban military commander, is also wanted by the U.N. for possible war crimes and worked alongside al Qaeda for years prior to his capture. Abdul Haq Wasiq and Khairullah Khairkhwa have direct ties to al Qaeda with Wasiq arranging for members of al Qaeda to provide crucial intelligence training prior to 9/11.

Khairkhwa was the governor of Afghanistan’s westernmost province prior to 9/11 and allegedly oversaw one of Osama bin Laden’s training facilities in Herat. Finally, Mohammed Nabi, a senior Taliban figure and security official, is believed to have held weekly meetings with al Qaeda to help plan attacks against U.S.-led forces.  

If these five men don’t have “American blood on their hands” what does it take to have American blood on one's hands? A serious reporter would have pushed back at the White House’s assertion about the five Taliban officials. Instead, Chuck Todd dutifully repeated the Obama Administration’s false claims without a hint of skepticism. 

H/T: Steve Malzberg

See relevant transcript below. 


MSNBC

Morning Joe

June 4, 2014

7:14 a.m. Eastern 

WILLIE GEIST: Let’s bring in Chuck Todd, joining us now from Warsaw, Poland, the NBC News Chief White House Correspondent, Political Director, host of The Daily Rundown, Chuck Todd. Chuck, good to see you. You talked about this yesterday. The White House, I think, expected, I think the word you used was euphoria. That they were bringing this American hero home and it’s turned to something quite different. What are we missing here Chuck? Why would the White House put Susan Rice out to say that Bergdahl served with honor and distinction. Why would they have the Rose Garden ceremony if they didn't have all the ducks in the row, or do they and we just don't know something? 

CHUCK TODD: Well, the best explanation I've got about Susan Rice and what she said on that Sunday, is in many ways people in the White House who spent time with Sergeant Bergdahl's family on Saturday got a little caught up in the moment itself and how can you not any time? I mean let's think about the very human nature here of parents not being able to see their son for five years. 

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Absolutely. 

TODD: That is an explanation, and it seems a very plausible explanation. What they did not expect -- because there had been a bipartisan call to do whatever it took to get Sergeant Bergdahl. And by the way, the White House is fighting back a little bit here. They've been circulating an op-ed, for instance, that Kelly Ayotte wrote over Memorial Day weekend saying you've got to keep the thoughts, keep Sergeant Bergdahl in your thoughts and prayers. She reiterated that she wanted the Defense Department to do whatever it took. They circulated another video of John McCain three months ago saying he would be open to the idea of some sort of prisoner exchange for Sergeant Bergdahl, that he wouldn’t totally rule that out. So this is their attempt to fight back. But every aide I’ve talked to, thought that while they were fully aware of, frankly, the uneasiness or the disputed facts surrounding Bergdahl's disappearance, they believed that there would be a sense of euphoria and relief about getting America's lone POW out of captivity and back to the United States. They did expect controversy and they did expect blow back but they thought the blow back would be over the release those Taliban members and frankly the start of what they expect to be a very rough debate as they, I think you'll see this White House potentially start escalating the release of some of these Guantanamo Bay detainees. Because what you're hearing as far as the rhetoric from the president is concerned, the war is coming to an end. And at some point you’ve got to do something with these folks. And these Taliban leaders they emphasize, have no American blood on their hands, at least as far as they know.

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