An American soldier that was the only prisoner of war from the Afghanistan conflict, captured five years ago, was released on Saturday after negotiations between the Obama Administration and the Taliban forces who were holding him. Now Republican lawmakers are saying the deal could put Americans around the world at risk as a result.
Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl was released after the Obama Administration secretly brokered a deal for five terrorist suspects to be released from the notorious prison at Guantanamo Bay. However Obama may have acted outside of the law in this case.
As the New York Times reported:
“Congress has imposed statutory restrictions on the transfer of detainees from Guantánamo Bay. The statutes say the secretary of defense must determine that a transfer is in the interest of national security, that steps have been taken to substantially mitigate a future threat by a released detainee, and that the secretary notify Congress 30 days before any transfer of his determination.”
The Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, said in a statement that he didn’t notify Congress of the deal. Additionally, there’s no evidence that the exchange was done in the interests of national security.
The decision by the administration has drawn criticism from Republicans, including Representative Mike Rogers of Michigan, the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, who said that Americans could now be in danger from the release.
“I have little confidence in the security assurances regarding the movement and activities of the now-released Taliban leaders, and I have even less confidence in this administration’s willingness to ensure they are enforced,” he said. “I believe this decision will threaten the lives of American soldiers for years to come.”
Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R., Calif.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, and Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in a joint statement that they were happy about the release of Bergdahl, however they’re concerned for the lives of Americans as well.
“Trading five senior Taliban leaders from detention in Guantanamo Bay for Bergdahl’s release may have consequences for the rest of our forces and all Americans” by giving terrorists “a strong incentive to capture Americans.”
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