Ernesto Londoño of the Washington Post: "Taliban fighters released the sole remaining American military hostage [Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl] Saturday morning to a team of U.S. troops in eastern Afghanistan, who quickly hustled him onto a helicopter.... His release was secured after the Obama administration, working through Qatari government intermediaries, agreed to free five high-profile Afghan inmates held by the U.S. military in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba." ...
... Kevin Sieff of the Washington Post: "Although the five men have each been in prison for at least a decade, many believe they still have significant influence within the Taliban because of their contributions during the group's formative years."
... White House: "In the White House Rose Garden, President Obama delivers a statement about the recovery of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl":
... Karen Tumulty of the Washington Post: "Amid jubilation Saturday over the release of U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl from captivity by the Taliban, senior Republicans on Capitol Hill said they were troubled by the means by which it was accomplished, which was a deal to release five Afghan detainees from the military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Top Republicans on the Senate and House armed services committees went so far as to accuse President Obama of having broken the law, which requires the administration to notify Congress before any transfers from Guantanamo are carried out.... A senior administration official ... acknowledged that the law was not followed. When he signed the law last year, Obama issued a signing statement contending that the notification requirement was an unconstitutional infringement on his powers as commander in chief and that he therefore could override it. " ...
... ** Steve M.: "... in all likelihood, if they'd gotten advance notice, the Republicans would have done everything in their power to block the release of Bergdahl -- as, reportedly, they did in 2012." ...
... Karen DeYoung of the Washington Post: Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel describes the operation to retrieve Bergdahl.
James Risen of the New York Times & Laura Poitras: "The National Security Agency is harvesting huge numbers of images of people from communications that it intercepts through its global surveillance operations for use in sophisticated facial recognition programs, according to top-secret documents.... The agency intercepts 'millions of images per day' -- including about 55,000 'facial recognition quality images' -- which translate into 'tremendous untapped potential,' according to 2011 documents obtained from the former agency contractor Edward J. Snowden."
Dina Cappiello of the AP: "The new pollution rule the Obama administration announces Monday will be a cornerstone of President Barack Obama's environmental legacy and arguably the most significant U.S. environmental regulation in decades. But it's not one the White House wanted.... Obama was forced to rely on the Clean Air Act after he tried and failed to get Congress to pass a new law during his first term. When the Republicans took over the House, the goal became impossible. The new rule, as the president described it in a news conference in 2010, is another way of 'skinning the cat' on climate change."
Charles Pierce wrote an excellent essay Friday on the VA scandal.
Adam Kirsch of the New Republic: New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan doesn't know what a book review is. "... the whole idea of an ombudsman does not apply to political and intellectual debate, because there is no privileged position, above and outside the fray, from which such judgments can be issued. The idea that a reviewer might be censured for her opinions, by the official spokesman of the very publication that published them, should give every writer -- and reader -- pause." Thanks to P. D. Pepe for the link.
Julie Pace of the AP: "Once seemingly destined to become secretary of state, Susan Rice now holds a lower-profile job at the White House, juggling global crises for the president and trying to ensure his foreign policy priorities don't fall by the wayside in a storm of overseas problems."
CW: Unsurprisingly, the New York Times' official abstinence columnist Ross Douthat gets stuff wrong in his piece on the "tension between sexual expectations and social reality" -- like his notion that feminists should be doing more to make men feel good about themselves -- but for once you won't necessarily be wasting your time reading the Wisdom of Pope Benedict's Man at the Times.
The American Family Association (Tony Perkins' group) has told its followers -- or whatever they are -- not to open mail that comes with a Harvey Milk "forever" stamp. Steve Benen reports.
Dan Lamothe of the Washington Post: The Army "last year, quietly issuing [Christian fundamentalist & anti-Islamist retired Lt. Gen. William "Jerry" Boykin] a scathing reprimand following a criminal investigation that concluded he had wrongfully released classified information, according to an Army document obtained by The Washington Post through a Freedom of Information Act request." Boykin more or less the reprimand, saying that while reprimands should be taken seriously, "at this stage in my life, it really hasn't had any impact on my life like it would have if it had happened when I was on active duty." Via Steve Benen.
The Ark & the Covenant -- Busted. Joe Sonka of LEO: "Dinosaurs on a goddamned boat" may not get any Kentucky tax incentives/breaks, after all. Via Benen.
Beyond the Borders
Maureen Dowd on the Irish troubles.
Ed Pilkington of the Guardian: "The United Nations is facing a chorus of criticism over the inauguration as president of its general assembly of Uganda's foreign minister [Sam Kutesa], just four months after that country enforced a brutal and widely denounced anti-gay law.... As the appointment nears, questions are being asked about his track record of alleged corruption, as well as his role as cabinet member of a government that has enacted one of the most virulent homophobic laws on the globe."
Philadelphia Inquirer: "Lewis Katz, 72, co-owner of The Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News, and Philly.com, died Saturday night in the crash of a private jet at a Massachusetts airfield. All seven people aboard were killed when the Gulfstream IV crashed about 9:40 p.m. as it was departing Hanscom Field in Bedford for Atlantic City International Airport, said a Massachusetts Port Authority spokesman."
New York Times: "Ann B. Davis, the comic actress best known as the wistful, wisecracking live-in maid on the long-running ABC sitcom 'The Brady Bunch,' died on Sunday at a hospital in San Antonio. She was 88."
AP: " A man has been arrested in southeast France in the investigation of a shooting at a Jewish museum in Brussels that left at least three people dead, the Paris prosecutor's office said Sunday."