President Obama upset Congress this week when he made the decision to trade five Taliban prisoners from Guantanamo Bay for an American Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who has been held captive in Afghanistan for the last five years.
Congress has criticized the president for making the decision to trade the prisoners without telling lawmakers about the deal until after it was made.
According to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, the Obama administration has not spoken with Congress about the possibility of a prisoner swap with the Taliban since 2011. According to US law, the administration should have provided Congress with a 30 day advance notice of their decision to make the swap.
President Obama defended his decision to rescue the Sgt. by arguing that bringing home an American soldier is the most important aspect of the deal. He emphasized that the United States holds a “sacred rule and that is we don’t leave our men or women in uniform behind.”
Although some of the men that served with Bergdahl claim he deserted his base unarmed in 2009, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey said on Tuesday that, “like any American, [Bergdahl] is innocent until proven guilty.” The President said that they have not been interrogating Sgt. Bergdahl, and that they are letting him recover from his time in captivity before they take any steps in that direction.