Investigation Into Obama’s Prisoner Exchange Begins Wednesday

obamaThe first major action on the investigation into President Obama’s prisoner exchange will occur Wednesday, when Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is set to appear before the House Committee on Armed Services to answer questions about why the White House failed to notify Congress 30 days prior to the President freeing terrorists from Guantanamo Bay for Sargent Bowe Bergdahl as he is statutorily required to do. The purpose of the hearing is to examine the circumstances of the exchange, and to discern the likelihood of the five released Taliban leaders reengaging in hostile action against U.S. troops.  Bergdahl reportedly disappeared from his post while on active duty, and was later found detained by the Taliban.  President Obama orchestrated a trade without giving Congress the required 30-day notice, and that has many lawmakers concerned.  Despite questions regarding Bergdahl’s disappearance, Representative Scott Tipton says severe consequences could arise from the trade, including increased danger to troops overseas.  Tipton says his fear that Taliban leaders will use the example to capture more American troops is already being realized.  As evidence, he points to a recent interview in which a Taliban official says “It’s better to kidnap one person like Bergdahl than kidnapping hundreds of useless people. It has encouraged our people.”  You can see Tipton’s full comments below.

Dear Friend,

While we always welcome the return of an American soldier home, there are serious concerns and questions regarding the circumstances surrounding Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s initial disappearance and how his release was arranged.

The greatest concern is that the President’s unilateral release of five senior Taliban terrorists from Guantanamo Bay in exchange for Bergdahl could have severe consequences for our deployed troops, and sets a dangerous precedent that encourages the Taliban and other terrorist organizations to capture American soldiers. Already this week Time Magazine reported that the Taliban is emboldened to do just that. A senior Taliban commander told Time, “It’s better to kidnap one person like Bergdahl than kidnapping hundreds of useless people. It has encouraged our people. Now everybody will work hard to capture such an important bird.”

This is an outrage. The most troubling aspect of this situation is that America’s enemies are now encouraged and our deployed troops may be at greater risk because of the way the President unilaterally conducted this exchange.

I have joined the members of the House and Senate Armed Services and Intelligence Committees in calling for a full investigation into the exchange of the five Taliban commanders for his release.

The first major action on this will occur this Wednesday, June 11, when Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is set to appear before the House Committee on Armed Services to answer questions about why the White House failed to notify Congress 30 days prior to the President freeing terrorists from Guantanamo Bay for Bergdahl as he is statutorily required to do. The purpose of the hearing is to examine the circumstances of the exchange, and to discern the likelihood of the five released Taliban leaders reengaging in hostile action against U.S. troops.

In addition to investigating the exchange for Bergdahl, it is important that we get to the bottom of the circumstances surrounding Bergdahl’s disappearance and whether or not he deserted his post.

There is information to that end coming forward from many sources including men who served with Bergdahl, government and military officials, and even Afghani villagers. It is critically important that the facts of this case are sorted out to get a clear picture of what happened on that day in 2011 when Bergdahl disappeared from his base.

His fellow soldiers and the families of the troops that were killed while searching for him deserve nothing less than the truth, and I expect a full military investigation into his disappearance and on how he came to be captured by the Taliban.

I am working with my House colleagues on the Armed Services and Intelligence Committees to ensure the American people get answers on why five terrorists were set free, why the President violated the law, the threats posed to deployed U.S. troops because of this exchange, and how Bergdahl was captured in the first place.

 

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