According to a Senator who has been defending the administration’s deal for Bowe Bergdahl, the 5 Taliban prisoners would have been freed sometime soon anyway, making this our last chance to get something for them. Senator Sen. Angus King (I-ME), an independent who caucuses with Democrats, said this at the end of his interview with CNN Thursday:
There’s one other very important point that needs to get out there.There is a reasonable legal argument that these five guys would have hadto be released any way within the next year under the law of war. Theywere being held in Guantanamo as enemy combatants. Under the law ofwar, when hostility cease, enemy combatants have to be released. Now, wecould have argued we held them under other authority or civilianauthority, but there’s a reasonable argument this may have been the lastchance to get Bergdahl where these guys had true value to us as anegotiating tool, because if they had to be released anyway, we’d be inthe same situation without Bowe Bergdahl home.
There has been speculation that the deal for Bergdahl was actually part of a longer term goal to close Gitmo before the President leaves office. King’s remarks may be the first time someone on the administration’s side of the argument has suggested pressure to empty Gitmo played into the Bergdahl deal.