NBC Reporter: Google Search Would Have Told White House Bergdahl Was Controversial

Appearing on Wednesday's Andrea Mitchell Reports on MSNBC, NBC Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski offered a blunt response to the notion that the White House was "taken aback" by the controversy swirling around the Bowe Bergdahl prisoner exchange: "I think if anybody at the White House would have done "Google: Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl," it would have jumped right up at them. There's no explanation for why they didn't know this." [Listen to the audio]

Such critical analysis was prompted by host Andrea Mitchell wondering: "Were they [at the Pentagon] at least, were they somewhat taken aback, as the White House was, by the controversy that erupted over this?" Miklaszewski replied: "Not at all....senior defense and military officials were aware from the very beginning, shortly after he was – disappeared from his base five years ago, that this was a controversial issue. That soldiers were upset that one of their own would abandon their post in a war zone..."

Mitchell followed up: "Well, Mik, if the Pentagon wasn't surprised, why was the White House so taken aback?...they had no expectation that the price paid for Bergdahl was going to become so controversial – the Taliban, the five Taliban."

Miklaszewski explained: "Yeah, well, people here are confused about that, because the record was clear, there was very aggressive and frequent reporting, media reports about Bowe Bergdahl and the suspicions and the claims about how he left the base, and how he then was taken into custody, or captured by the Taliban."

Later on the show, USA Today Washington D.C. bureau chief Susan Page cited Miklaszewski's research advice for the White House: "I mean, Miklaszewski said they could have Googled his [Bergdahl's] name and come up with evidence that there were serious questions about how he happened to be captured by the Taliban....it goes almost to a question of the competency of the administration."

Here is a transcript of Miklaszewski's June 4 exchange with Mitchell:

12:06 PM ET

(...)

ANDREA MITCHELL: Were they [at the Pentagon] at least, were they somewhat taken aback, as the White House was, by the controversy that erupted over this? Over what the White House certainly thought on Saturday afternoon was going to be a celebration kicked off by that Rose Garden moment with the parents.

JIM MIKLASZEWSKI: Not at all. I mean, they were – senior defense and military officials were aware from the very beginning, shortly after he was – disappeared from his base five years ago, that this was a controversial issue. That soldiers were upset that one of their own would abandon their post in a war zone, which to many is probably the most serious offense that a soldier could do.

MITCHELL: Well, Mik, if the Pentagon wasn't surprised, why was the White House so taken aback? Because I can assure you from Chuck Todd's reporting and other reporting, mine as well, they had no expectation that the price paid for Bergdahl was going to become so controversial – the Taliban, the five Taliban.

MIKLASZEWSKI: Yeah, well, people here are confused about that, because the record was clear, there was very aggressive and frequent reporting, media reports about Bowe Bergdahl and the suspicions and the claims about how he left the base, and how he then was taken into custody, or captured by the Taliban.

So I think if anybody at the White House would have done "Google: Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl," it would have jumped right up at them. There's no explanation for why they didn't know this.

MITCHELL: Thanks so much. Jim Miklaszewski, thanks for being there.

MIKLASZEWSKI: You bet.

— Kyle Drennen is News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Kyle Drennen on Twitter.