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Thursday, December 18, 2014, 3:36 a.m.
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Hagel: Time was running out to save Bergdahl

By The Associated Press

This article was originally published June 11, 2014 at 8:55 a.m. Updated June 11, 2014 at 11:01 a.m.

WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told lawmakers Wednesday that last month's prisoner swap with the Taliban may have been the "last, best" chance to secure the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the only U.S. soldier held captive in Afghanistan. He said mediators indicated time was slipping away to get Bergdahl out safely.

Hagel, the first Obama administration official to testify publicly about the deal, told the House Armed Services Committee that Qatari officials warned in the days before the exchange that "time was not on our side" and a leak would sabotage the deal. The transfer of five detainees at the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to Qatar was legal and advanced national interests, he added.

Republicans and some Democrats have sharply criticized the administration for not informing Congress in advance, with some accusing the president of breaking a law requiring 30-day notification of any Guantanamo prisoner release. Other questions center on whether Bergdahl deserted and whether the U.S. gave up too much for his freedom. Administration officials have told Congress that four of the five Taliban officials will likely rejoin the fight.

"We could have done a better job of keeping you informed," Hagel told the panel. But he called the operation an "extraordinary situation" that combined time-sensitive concerns over Bergdahl's health and safety, last-minute arrangements over where to pick up the soldier and persistent fears the Taliban may have been negotiating in bad faith.

Read tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

Comments on: Hagel: Time was running out to save Bergdahl

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Displaying 1 - 8 of 8 total comments

Dontcallmenames says... June 11, 2014 at 11:42 a.m.

If the military are willing to sacrifice their lives to beat the enemy, then why would we not let this life be sacrificed to keep five enemy combatants from being released back into the war?

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GrimReaper says... June 11, 2014 at 12:07 p.m.

The usual self serving BS from this administration!

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Reason says... June 11, 2014 at 12:31 p.m.

Voters are sick and tired of these dog and pony shows!
The Bush administration released over 520 detainees. Where are those 520 detainees now? Anybody know? Congress not concerned about 520, but 5 detainees that were turned over to Qatar to watch are suddenly a big concern?
It's politics!

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3rdWorldState says... June 11, 2014 at 12:42 p.m.

The education, or lack thereof, of this group is amazing.
Yes, that's what we're doing Po. We are trying to turn the country Socialist by having the Defense department get a soldier back.

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Reason says... June 11, 2014 at 1 p.m.

Pobucker, Do you have anything to contribute on the subject? Do you know where the detainees are that the Bush administration turned loose? I think the real number was 532.

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HotSpringsLawyer says... June 11, 2014 at 3:21 p.m.

The President is the Commander in Chief, and any law that says otherwise is unconstitutional. If he had told Congress in advance they would have done exactly what they are doing now.

It is sort of fun watching the rightwingers insisting that Diane Feinstein should have been more involved, though.

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