Illegal exchange? Did the Obama administration break the law by not giving Congress sufficient notice of a prisoner exchange with the Taliban? Democrats are butting heads with each other over the legality of the move. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said the White House notified him the day before Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was exchanged for five top Taliban commanders. He also said the exchange was legal, even though the White House failed to give Congress the required30days notice. Fellow Democrat Dianne Feinstein of California, who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, disagrees. “I strongly believe that we should have been consulted, that the law should have been followed, and I very much regret that that was not the case,” she said.
Canceled. In Bergdahl’s hometown of Hailey, Idaho, organizers of a homecoming celebration have canceled the event due to security concerns and a backlash from across the country over the circumstances surrounding Bergdahl’s capture. His fellow soldiers say he voluntarily left his unit in Afghanistan. By Tuesday, just three days after the announcement of his release, 160 people had emailed Hailey City Hall, with only a few offering positive comments. Many of those complaining were veterans. City officials issued a statement urging people not to pre-judge and saying they stood by the family, ready to welcome the soldier home. But by Wednesday, the furor had just grown too much for the small town to handle. “In the interest of public safety, the event will be canceled,” event organizers said in a statement. “Hailey, a town of 8,000, does not have the infrastructure to support an event of the size this could become.”
Fired and disciplined. General Motors CEO Mary Barra announced today the company has fired 15 people and disciplined five others after an internal investigation into the ignition switch scandal confirmed some employees didn’t act appropriately to address the problem. “Pieces of information and clues didn’t get put together,” Barra said. The report did not uncover any evidence that employees conspired to cover up facts or decided to put cost over customers’safety, she claimed, adding the problem was misdiagnosed. That contradicts evidence uncovered by the lawyer responsible for bringing the pervasive nature of the defect to regulators’attention. At least 13 people died in crashes as a result of the defective switches, which shut off vehicles while they were being driven. GM has already paid a $35 million government fine and is setting up a victim’s compensation fund. It’s already settled with some families who sued over crashes.
Crashed. The U.S. military lost two jets in separate incidents yesterday. Both pilots ejected safely, and no one on the ground was injured. In the first accident, a Marine Harrier AV-8B jet crashed into a neighborhood in Imperial, Calif., about 90 miles east of San Diego. It landed in a front yard and damaged three homes. Later that afternoon, a U.S. Navy jet crashed during a training mission as the pilot was trying to land aboard the carrier Carl Vinson. Residents in Imperial said the crash shook the entire neighborhood. “It felt like a bomb was thrown in the backyard,” one resident said.
Remembered. Chester Nez, the last of the Navajo “Code Talkers” who helped the United States win World War II, died yesterday. He was 93. Nez and 29 other Native-American Marines developed a code based on the Navajo language that the Japanese were unable to break. Because the program was classified, the men didn’t receive recognition for their service until 2001, when President George W. Bush awarded the original team members the Congressional Gold Medal.