June 1st, 2014
10:55 AM ET
9 years ago

Rogers on negotiating for soldier's release: 'We have now set a price'

(CNN) – Releasing five Guantanamo Bay detainees in exchange for the return of U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was a "dangerous" decision that could set a risky precedent for future kidnappings of Americans, according to Rep. Mike Rogers, who chairs the House Intelligence Committee

"We have now set a price," the Michigan Republican said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union." "We have a changing footprint in Afghanistan, which would put our soldiers at risk for this notion that 'If I can get one, I can get five Taliban released.'"

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Bergdahl, who was held for five years by Afghan militants, arrived Sunday morning at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany as part of his return to the United States.

U.S. special operations forces recovered Bergdahl without incident early Saturday local time at a pickup point in eastern Afghanistan, near the border with Pakistan. American officials said the government of Qatar brokered the deal.

Hagel: U.S. acted fast to save Bowe Bergdahl's life

While Rogers was happy about the return of Bergdahl, he said the "methodology" that was used to get him back is "very troublesome."

"You've sent a message to every al Qaeda group in the world that says - by the way, there are some who are holding U.S. hostages today - that there is some value now in that hostage in a way that they didn't have before," he told CNN's chief political correspondent Candy Crowley. "That is dangerous."

He added that the primary way al Qaeda affiliates in Northern Africa raise money is by kidnapping and ransom.

Rogers' comments add to a chorus of congressional Republicans who are raising questions about the swap of five Guantanamo Bay detainees, who will now live in Qatar under undisclosed restrictions for at least a year.

Obama administration officials defend the handling of the situation. White House national security adviser Susan Rice argued that if it hadn't brought Bergdahl home, the administration would not be following U.S. policy of leaving no soldier behind.

"We would be in a whole new era for the safety of our personnel and for the nature of our commitment to our men and women in uniform," she said on "State of the Union."

"Because it was the Taliban that had him did not mean that we had any less of an obligation to bring him back," she added.

Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.

Filed under: Afghanistan • Mike Rogers • Terrorism • TV-State of the Union
soundoff (44 Responses)
  1. jboh

    The Koch roach TEA/GOP supporters are really earning their pay today.

    June 1, 2014 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  2. Marie MD

    @it must be said. . . . . What about all the dead and maimed soldiers thanks to the shrub #43 and his lie of WMDs war?
    There wouldn't be future deaths if this village simpleton hadn't gone into Iraq thinking it was going to be easy. Remember Cheney saying that we would be welcomed as liberators? Freakin' liars all in the bush administration!

    June 1, 2014 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  3. Tampa Tim

    Smithead – The entire world laughs are republicans. Like most Americans, I love our country and really dislike republicans.

    June 1, 2014 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  4. cal

    I would like to see one of is family members be held captive and see what he would be saying. This is a typical non caring remark from someone who is detached from reality. He has very little value for human life unless it is his own. In the real world there are tradeoffs. I guess he would rather have the one American dead along with the 5 Taliban than have the 6 of them live. How sad and uncaring. Did he ever stop and think that prisoners in the future would have a better chance by their captors of not being killed. I doubt it ever crossed his mind.

    June 1, 2014 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  5. drake mallard

    Rep. Mike Rogers, War is good for business invest yourself and own your children! i guess mike rogers forgot when the Bush administration gave $43 million dollars to the Taliban,

    the Reagan administration’s talks with Iran aimed at winning the release of U.S. hostages held in Lebanon. , no, in the Iran case, the United States was negotiating with a sovereign government. So it was OK.

    How about in 2007, when the U.S. negotiated with Sunni insurgent leaders in Iraq to get them to stop bombing U.S. troops and join the fight against al-Qaeda in Iraq? We bribed them. We paid them off. And if you Google the statements of various U.S. officials back in 2005-2006, they were insulted when the U.S. media referred to the Sunnis as insurgents. No, those officials insisted, they’re terrorists!

    What about the Taliban in Afghanistan? We have negotiated in the past with them, and we will do it in the future. We will do it whether a Republican or a Democrat occupies the White House. Why? Because once you acknowledge (as we have) that you cannot win a war militarily, there are only two other ways to end it: surrender or negotiate with your enemy. The United States might be capable of winning the war in Afghanistan militarily, but the sacrifice and cost in civilian lives would be too unpalatable to contemplate. This was the conclusion reached by civilian and military leaders years ago.

    Yeah, well, there won't be a victory. Every day, your war machines lose ground to a bunch of poorly-armed, poorly-equipped freedom fighters. The fact is that you underestimated your competition. If you'd studied your history, you'd know that these people have never given up to anyone. They'd rather die than be slaves to an invading army. You can't defeat a people like that.

    June 1, 2014 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  6. ThinkAgain - Don't like Congress? Get rid of the repub/tea bag majority.

    @CB FL: "Politics is more important than a soldiers life?"

    Yep, according to the gop.

    Ever notice how President Obama continues to do the right thing for our country and our people, knowing that he'll get ridiculous, predictable blowback from the gop/tea bags? He is putting country before party, something that I don't think I'll ever see the gop do again in my lifetime.

    June 1, 2014 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  7. O'drama Ya Mama

    Funny to see Republicans actually advocating that an Americans life is worth LESS than a handful of afghans.

    June 1, 2014 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  8. rs

    Republicans like Rogers wondering about the price of Americans? How much has he gotten from the Koch brothers or the NRA, eh?

    June 1, 2014 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  9. Marie MD

    Give them Rogers for any of our captive soldiers. No loss in congress.

    June 1, 2014 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  10. Tom l


    I’m surprised you’re not saying either you’re with us or you’re with the terrorists is you don’t agree exactly with the president’s decision and follow it up with you’re unpatriotic. You sound no different from George Bush. Congrats.

    June 1, 2014 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  11. Tampa Tim

    Yugo – There are no impeachable high crimes and misdemeanors, except for the organization who gave you your GED.

    June 1, 2014 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  12. Thomas

    Just when you thought the Obama Progressive Liberals could go no lower or do something more inept, here they go again. This is just another Impeachable offense in a long line of impeachable high crimes and misdemeanors, some may even equate to TREASON, but hey, look at those arms on the Mooch!

    This is just like when Obama sent seal team 6 in to take care of Osama bin Laden with out asking Michele Bachmann , he has no shame !

    June 1, 2014 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  13. don in albuquerque

    Apparently Obama is the President who signed this law, but the troublesome thing is he added a signing statement to the bill which let the Prez off the hook. W did this constantly on bills he signed, is everything that W signed now (gasp) illegal?

    June 1, 2014 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  14. hofjo

    This may well encourage the Taliban to take more hostages. Look at the sorry state of American security and prestige in the world over the last six years when led by a leader who basically dislikes the country he leads. God forbid we should criticize Emperor Obama. I am glad to see a family get there child back. Hard to put a price on that.

    June 1, 2014 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  15. The Real Tom Paine

    I guess the Right really hates our soldiers, but they do LOVE the military. Same as how they LOVE our country, but despise virtually everyone who lives in it.

    June 1, 2014 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  16. Bigwilliestyles

    As wary as the Isrealis are of releasing terrorists, they will trade hundreds for the life of one of their own, and none of their countrymen would think it odd in the least. The right wing of the U S has sunk to a new low.

    June 1, 2014 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  17. z.v

    Al Qaeda captured Americans
    Before, even when there was no dialogue.
    I do not agree with this view.
    What did you want to do? Leave this child in captivity?
    Republican you have to learn from Israel – do not leave a soldier
    In enemy hands.

    June 1, 2014 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  18. Miami Mike

    The Obama Administration has always been a staunch ally of the t3rr0r1st groups:
    – millions to the former Egyptian government that had t3rr0r1st ties (while the YS was under Sequestor)

    – wanting and willing to provide air strikes for Syrian rebels that were affiliated with t3rr0r1st

    June 2, 2014 06:04 am at 6:04 am |
  19. 82ndABNVET

    When a soldier willingly leaves his duty to join the Taliban................

    And now we have 5 very dangerous terrorist free from behind bars.

    I can see now, there will be a greater threat to US personnel (military/non-military) in places such as Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, etc from being taken prisoner in an effort to release more terrorists. They now know, that they can succeed, and the price is 5 to 1.

    I am glad we now have him back, but we need to really investigate and figure out why he left his base in the middle of the night, and what he may have provided the Taliban, or other militant groups.

    And the timing of this really begs the question on if the Administration is just trying to take the spotlight off of Benghazi, the IRS, the VA debacle, etc? Seems too convenient.

    Again. Glad he is back. Glad his family gets to see him again. But, there are questions to be asked.

    June 2, 2014 07:07 am at 7:07 am |
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