A combat-decorated Green Beret told Congress today that he fell below criminal investigation by the Army this year immediately after informing Congress about a scuttled deal he attempted to reduce with the Taliban to absolutely free Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl along with all of the American and Canadian civilian hostages held by terrorists in Pakistan.
“Warren Weinstein is dead. Colin Rutherford, Joshua Boyle, Caitlin Coleman and the youngster she bore in captivity are nonetheless hostages in Pakistan. I failed them. I exhausted all efforts and resources accessible to return them but I failed,” Army Specific Forces Lt. Col. Jason Amerine said ahead of the Senate Homeland Safety and Governmental Affairs Committee.
President Obama recently announced that Weinstein, a USAID worker held for years, was accidentally killed along with an Italian aid worker in a CIA drone strike on a Pakistan al Qaeda hideout last January. Coleman is an American, who, along with her Canadian husband Boyle and their unborn youngster, have been taken hostage in Afghanistan two years ago possibly by the Haqqani Taliban network. Rutherford also is a Canadian.
Amerine received the Bronze Star with “V” for “Valor” device for his service in Afghanistan, where he led the Special Forces Operational Detachment-Alpha group that protected Hamid Karzai immediately after 9/11 as the future Afghan president drummed up Pashtun tribal help to lead the country.
Now he joins critics of the failed U.S. hostage policy — at the moment beneath overview by a former Army Delta Force commander at the National Counterterrorism Center — such as Diane and John Foley, whose son James Foley was a journalist beheaded by ISIS in Syria in a grisly video final August.
Amerine claims he led a very-secret Pentagon group tasked with getting strategies to recover Americans held captive in Pakistan’s tribal places — until a “dysfunctional” bureaucracy bungled the mission on the verge of success.
“In early 2013, my workplace was asked to assistance get Sgt. Bergdahl household. We informally audited the recovery effort and determined that the cause the work failed for four years was since our nation lacks an organization that can synchronize the efforts of all our government agencies to get our hostages house. We also realized that there had been civilian hostages in Pakistan that nobody was trying to free so they were added to our mission,” Amerine said in his testimony.
“To get the hostages residence, my group worked three lines of work: Repair the coordination of the recovery, develop a viable trade and get the Taliban back to the negotiating table. My group was equipped to address the latter two of these tasks but fixing the government’s interagency course of action was beyond our capability,” Amerine stated.
Bergdahl was freed in 2014 soon after five years of captivity in a very controversial swap for 5 Taliban leaders held at the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Bergdahl now faces charges by the Army for deserting his post in Afghanistan and could wind up in prison for the rest of his life, if convicted.
Amerine mentioned that he and his colleagues had designed a program to trade an Afghan drug lord, Bashir Noorzai, for the American and Canadian hostages. Noorzai was lured to the U.S., Amerine said, exactly where he was arrested and at some point sentenced to two life sentences on drug charges.
Amerine mentioned his group got as far as operating with Noorzai’s tribe and bringing the Taliban to the table about a deal for the drug lord, but then the State Department intervened and killed that deal in favor of the one that eventually freed Bergdahl for five Taliban fighters. Noorzai remains in a higher-security prison in California.
The veteran Unique Forces field-grade officer told the Senate committee that he, Amerine, also fell under criminal investigation by the Army simply because the FBI was irked over his criticism of how the Bureau and other agencies mismanaged the hostage crisis and for sharing his frustrations with Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., a member of the House Armed Solutions Committee. He helped Hunter craft legislation to reform and streamline how government agencies must perform jointly to manage hostage circumstances.
“The FBI formally complained to the Army that details I was sharing with Rep. Hunter was classified. It was not,” Amerine stated in his testimony, noting that federal law protects military whistleblowers. “The FBI made significant allegations of misconduct to the Army in order to place me in my spot and readily admitted that to a U.S. congressman.”
The Army deleted his retirement paperwork and cut off his spend temporarily lately, Amerine recounted.
“It’s utterly ridiculous in my thoughts,” Amerine mentioned.
U.S. officials at the Division of Justice and the FBI did not straight away provide comment right now relating to Amerine and his claims.
Army spokesperson Cynthia Smith stated that while the service’s policy dictates that they can not confirm the names of any individual who “may or may not be under investigation,” Smith noted that “each the law and Army policy would prohibit initiating an investigation based solely on a Soldier’s protected communications with Congress.”
A spokesperson for Hunter, in turn, said that the Army had confirmed to Hunter their investigation into Amerine for “possible unauthorized disclosures” to Congress.
“It is a sad day for the Army, in its struggle to be truthful,” stated Joe Kasper, Hunter’s spokesperson.
Amerine plans to tell the Committee nowadays, “You, the Congress, have been my last resort to recover the hostages. But now I am a whistleblower, a term that has turn out to be radioactive and derogatory.
“And let us not neglect: Warren Weinstein is dead even though Colin Rutherford, Josh Boyle, Caitlin Coleman, and her youngster remain prisoners. Who is fighting for them?”