Congress Twice Rejected Obama Admin’s Proposal to Swap Bergdahl for Taliban

Via the Washington Times:

President Obama’s aides met with unanimous opposition from Congress when they first raised the possibility of releasing five Taliban guerrillas from Guantanamo Bay in 2011 and 2012, and administration officials publicly and repeatedly vowed to return to Capitol Hill before making any final moves.

But with what they now say was a closing window to secure the release of ArmySgt. Bowe Bergdahl, Mr. Obama made the call to bypass Congress and make a deal swapping the five Taliban fighters in exchange for Sgt. Bergdahl — and sparking a major constitutional battle with Congress.


SEE ALSO: Taliban calls Bergdahl prisoner exchange ‘great victory’; video of swap goes viral


With anger boiling over, the administration dispatched officials to deliver a closed-door briefing to senators late Wednesday, but many lawmakers emerged to say they still have too many unanswered questions about the legality of Mr. Obama’s move, the details of Sgt. Bergdahl’s capture and the likelihood that the five Taliban will return to the battlefield.

“I think there’s still an awful lot that has to be looked into. There’s a lot of information that came out of this, but this is something that is extremely disturbing. It’s something that needs to be looked into, and I came out of there with more questions than I got answers,” said Sen. Joe Manchin III, West Virginia Democrat.

Lawmakers were shown a short video that the Taliban-aligned group holding Sgt. Bergdahl provided as “proof of life,” and several lawmakers said the soldier did appear to be unwell in the video — countering speculation from some corners that his health situation was not as desperate as the administration had suggested.

But the administration made little headway in convincing senators that it was a good decision to release the five Taliban members, who have been sent to Qatar, where they are supposed to be monitored for a year but seem to be living openly.

“I promise you, in a year from now, if not before, they will be back in Afghanistan and in the fight,” said Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican.

In an earlier closed-door briefing, officials even confirmed there was a great likelihood some of them will return to war-fighting, a possibility Mr. Obama himself had acknowledged earlier this week.

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