WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 31: Bob Bergdahl makes a statement about the release of his son Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl as his wife, Jani Bergdahl and President Barack Obama listen May 31, 2014 in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, DC. Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was held captive by militants for almost five years during the war in Afghanistan. (Photo by J.H. Owen-Pool/Getty Images)
After five long years, U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has been freed by his Taliban captors. And with his release — a lot of questions.
Among them, why did he wander from his base? What did he learn from his captors? And perhaps most importantly, what will come of the five senior Taliban figures who were part of the prisoner swap? (Via KOIN)
We do know the five detainees were at Guantanamo Bay and will now be sent to Qatar where they will remain for one year while being monitored by the Qatari government. (Via RT)
As Nic Robertson asked on CNN, “The question is will they get involved in the political aspect of the Taliban's still ongoing effort to fight and parts of Afghanistan? Will they try to enter and get back into the battlefield? (Via CNN)
According to U.S. officials, none of these men are believed to have links to Al Qaeda, but critics — including top Republicans on the House and Senate Armed Services committees — contend they could still pose a risk.
Sen. John McCain — a former prisoner of war himself — expressed his concerns with the tactics used to get Bergdahl home, calling the detainees "hardened terrorists who have the blood of Americans and countless Afghans on their hands."
Others warn the prisoner swap could set a dangerous precedent. U.S. Rep. Buck McKeon and Sen. Jim Inhofe wrote in a statement provided to Fox News, “Our terrorist adversaries now have a strong incentive to capture Americans.”
The White House is hitting back, saying it did not directly negotiate with terrorists. Instead, the Qataris acted as intermediaries. (Via Euronews)
But that's done little to silence the critics who point out the president is required by law to notify Congress 30 days before transferring prisoners from Guantanamo — which he didn’t do.
According to Josh Rogin with The Daily Beast, “The White House risked that they could break this law with little to no consequences and that’s likely to be the effect.” (Via NBC)
The Defense Department responded to the accusations, saying key members of Congress were notified before the transfer. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told reporters the administration had to move quickly due to Bergdahl's declining health and safety.