Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) told reporters on Monday the Obama administration wanted to release Taliban fighters even without the prisoner exchange for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who is accused of deserting his post and later getting captured by the Taliban.
“About a year or so ago they were talking about releasing Taliban as a confidence building measure not an exchange for Bergdahl. No one that I know said that they got any briefing,” McCain said.
He explained, “I’m sure [the Obama administration] violated the law, but that’s not the point. The point is they exchanged Mr. Bergdahl for people in a conflict that is not over.”
The president did not notify Congress of the exchange, but President Obama insisted on Tuesday at a press conference in Warsaw that Congress was kept aware that an exchange would happen at some point.
“We’ve consulted with Congress for some time about prisoner exchange,” Obama said.
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) defended the administration’s actions with Bergdahl exchange telling Breitbart News, “It was a prisoner of war exchange. We have done these exchanges many times in our history.” She added, “The commander in chief has a chance to save an American life and get our last remaining POW out of Afghanistan, and I think he took action most Americans would understand under the circumstances.”
However, new information relating has arisen about the circumstances surrounding Bergdahl’s capture and captivity by the Taliban. The Washington Post reported that in 2010 the Pentagon concluded that Bergdahl abandoned his unit, and following an initial search the military pulled back on any plans to rescue him.
Senator Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who has called for a hearing to investigate the exchange, told reporters that claims regarding Bergdahl deserting or going AWOL should be investigated by the Department of Defense.
“The one thing I don’t want to do is judge this young man based on Internet rumors. I want a professional independent investigation by the appropriate military authorities with no interference by the Congress or the White House and find out what labels apply to Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl,” said Graham.
He went further, “I’m glad he’s home for the sake of his family and his friends but we have to understand what happened and not make an emotional decision. I want to find out why he left his post and the ramifications of leaving his post. That should be done by the Department of Defense.”