On Fox News Channel’s “The Kelly File” on Monday, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) railed against the Obama administration’s deal with the Taliban last week for the release of U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. Inhofe chastised the outcome as one that resulted from negotiating with terrorists and one that was motivated by an obsession to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Transcript as follows:
KELLY: Joining me now, Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe, he’s ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Sir, they’ve assured us – Qatar has assured us that they will going to watch these guys for a total of one year, and when asked what exactly they will be doing in watching them, Jay Carney said, I don’t know and when asked what happens after that one year, the National Security spokesman said very little. Your thoughts on it?
INHOFE: Well, first of all, when you stop and think about what they can do, Megyn, in a period of a year, they would go back, organize, plan their actions knowing that we’re going to be leaving as the troops are drawn down. Here we have, this is — you know, you’ve done a great job in characterizing this guy, Bergdahl but even if Bergdahl was not a bad guy and didn’t desert, still it wouldn’t make any difference.
You can’t negotiate with a terrorists, and these five guys, just by their titles, Megyn, they are the five arguably the most dangerous of the 149 left in Gitmo. My personal feeling on this because I’ve kind of been trying to champion the cause of keeping Gitmo open now for longer than six years. And this is just one more step — I think if the president believes he can take the five most dangerous people in Gitmo and turn them loose, turn them back to the fight, then he can get rid of anyone and that’s his obsession to close Gitmo. So, I think that factors into this thing in a big way. And as far as what Qatar says, they can and can’t do, I believe any of that. They will going to go back and start working and they have already killed Americans, they will kill more Americans.
KELLY: These five guys were specifically asked for by the Taliban. We didn’t pick them. The Taliban picked them and you have been talking about these guys and their possible release for a long time because they have been wanted by the Taliban for some time in a prisoner swap. The President came to Congress a couple of years ago and was told no, this isn’t a good idea. Now he says he had to do it because of circumstances. There was urgency that Bowe Bergdahl’s health and some other circumstance demanded it and he didn’t have time to come and notify Congress as the law requires. Your response?
INHOFE: Well, my response is the president knew fell and well that these are the highest ranking Taliban people in captivity. And that’s the issue. It wouldn’t make any difference who Bergdahl was. You don’t swap out and turn back to the fight people who have killed Americans, people who are the brain power of Taliban and they are clearly, by their own title, Megyn, the minister of intelligence and all these different titles. They are the top guys. They are the ones that they have all been wanting to get back and they are getting back at a time right after the President will have drawn our numbers down to a very low number.
KELLY: But administration says, Senator, that they said, look, this is how wars end. The war is ending and this is what you do, you exchange prisoners at the end of the war and it’s always happened this way.
INHOFE: So they should have turned Hitler loose and that would have been the end of the war. No, that’s on his face, it didn’t pass the smell test. This isn’t right, and I just — it’s hard for me and people I talk to a lot of people in Oklahoma, just this morning about this, they can’t figure out why in the world would we turn loose the five most dangerous people who hate America, who want to kill Americans, who have the equipment and the following to revive the Taliban and that’s what they are doing.
KELLY: I know that there is a Senate Armed Services Committee that’s going to take place next Tuesday. It’s closed.
INHOFE: It’s closed. Here is the problem. I don’t like the closed hearings because the American people need to know. Today I requested an open hearing, and whether we can do that by following the closed hearing, I don’t know. But we need to have an open hearing.
KELLY: We need to hear it.
INHOFE: So everyone know what is going on.
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