June 11th, 2014
10:55 AM ET
6 years ago

Hagel defends Bergdahl deal in House testimony

(CNN) - Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel returned to Congress on Wednesday to defend the deal that resulted in the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, saying the agreement to release five Afghan detainees was "fully consistent with U.S. law, our nation's interests and our military's core values."

"The President's decision to move forward with the transfer of these detainees was a tough call. I supported it, I stand by it," the former lawmaker told the House Armed Services Committee.

FULL POST


Filed under: Bowe Bergdahl • Chuck Hagel
soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. Gurgyl

    I am glad he is home safely. Let us not worry about Muslim nations. Focus on infrastructure here.

    June 11, 2014 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  2. rs

    It is an amazing spectacle that the President a Defense Secretary have to defend bringing home an American POW. More amazing is that the GOP has not already tried Mr. Bergdahl in abscentia, but they have whipped up their NRA/militia rabble to the point that Bergdahl's need police protection. This is America for cryin' out loud! The GOP ought to be ashamed!
    The worst of it all is it won't matter at all that the GOP Senators were not only informed in March, but that the plan had a stamp of approval from no one less than John McCain. It also won't matter what Mr. Hagel, or Mr. Obama say- oh no, Hannity will call for firing squads, and the Right will spin their lies- because this is all about "political advantage" and fundraising. The GOP no longer leads apparently- it's just a fund-raiser.

    June 11, 2014 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  3. David G

    It looks like the our government is now embolding the 'Hunger Games' now that we have released the Taliban generals from GITMO. They (DoD and Hagel) said this morning they would hunt down the Talibans with drones if they go back to the battle fields. Hmm, we captured them, negotiate trade, release them to the wild, and then hunt them down and kill them like they are animals.......

    June 11, 2014 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  4. drake mallard

    As the right-wing echo chamber ramps up about how horrible it is that five Guantanamo Bay detainees have been freed, let’s remember that 520 Gitmo detainees were released under George W. Bush.

    Bush gave $43 million to Taliban 4 months before 9/11

    The Bush administration gave this money to the Taliban with the full knowledge that Osama Bin Laden was in Afghanistan operating his Al Qaeda terror network. To make matters worse Bin Laden had already launched the 1998 attacks on our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania which left 225 people dead and injured more than 4,000. If that wasn't bad enough Bin Laden had also ordered the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole which left 17 sailors dead along with another 39 injured. Had Bush forgotten that President Clinton had bombed Bin Ladens terrorist camps in Afghanistan in retaliation for these attacks ? The Bush administration also conveniently ignored the fact that the Taliban brutally oppressed the female population of Afghanistan. The Taliban also tortured and executed it's opponents and required religious minorities to wear clothing that marked them as non Muslims which was similar to what the NAZI's had done to the Jews , Gypsies, and Gays.

    In the end it turned out that the Taliban had fooled the Bush administration because instead of banning Opium in reality the Taliban had actually increased the production of opium.

    June 11, 2014 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  5. Rick McDaniel

    This deal was not defensible. Obama simply wants to turn all the terrorists in Guantanamo LOOSE, and close Gitmo. In doing so, he will be putting Americans in harm's way........yet AGAIN!

    June 11, 2014 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  6. Thomas

    Sean Patrick Hannity , another mouth with no military service or experience criticizing Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel .

    Only in America can a guy with absolutely no background be over paid for speculation and innuendo .

    June 11, 2014 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  7. Jbuffett

    Obama has repeated that the White House policy is to "not leave any soldier behind". That takes precedent over everything else. Our job is to make sure we do not leave any soldier behind. My question is where was that attitude and policy on Sept 11, 2011?

    June 11, 2014 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  8. Malory Archer

    David G
    It looks like the our government is now embolding the 'Hunger Games' now that we have released the Taliban generals from GITMO. They (DoD and Hagel) said this morning they would hunt down the Talibans with drones if they go back to the battle fields. Hmm, we captured them, negotiate trade, release them to the wild, and then hunt them down and kill them like they are animals.......

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    They've been in U.S. custody for 10+ years – without charges no less, because there was insufficient evidence to charge them with a crime! None of them were spring chickens when they were captured. Now they're all 10+ years older, and THEY'VE BEEN IN U.S. CUSTODY FOR 10+ YEARS!!! Their former contacts – the ones who are still alive after all these years on the "battlefield" – are dead, and anyone still alive isn't going to trust these guys after THEY'VE BEEN IN U.S. CUSTODY FOR 10+ YEARS. Additionally, they're on supervised release for a year – something that wouldn't have happened if the were held until the U.S. opens the gates at Guantanamo and tells everyone to go home. These guys are POWs. What do YOU think the U.S. should do with them if not let them go, and what effect do you think that would have on our military personnel in foreign lands?

    June 11, 2014 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  9. Malory Archer

    drake mallard
    As the right-wing echo chamber ramps up about how horrible it is that five Guantanamo Bay detainees have been freed, let’s remember that 520 Gitmo detainees were released under George W. Bush.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Yep, and 171 are confirmed to have gone back to the "battlefield", which begs the question: when do we begin prosecuting the previous occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue?

    June 11, 2014 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  10. smith

    The swap turned out to be a big loser for Obama. Thats why he should have at least got congress or even some Dems on his side before he did it. Then Susan Rice spewing a bunch of fodder to the american people for the second time just topped off this mess.

    June 11, 2014 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  11. Malory Archer

    Jbuffett
    Obama has repeated that the White House policy is to "not leave any soldier behind". That takes precedent over everything else. Our job is to make sure we do not leave any soldier behind. My question is where was that attitude and policy on Sept 11, 2011?

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Sgt. Bergdahl was the only soldier in custody on September 11, 2011, babe.

    June 11, 2014 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  12. Sniffit

    "this idea that they couldn't trust us to not leak things is just not true."

    Really? Is that why republican operatives and the PR firm owned by a prominent Republican operative was contacting the other soldiers and helping them to publicize and disseminate their accusations and set up their television interviews. Fact is, THAT activity had to have been taking place simultaneously and perhaps even before some of these negotiations and, if known by the administration (which it no doubt was), provides ample justification for not handing the GOP/Teatrolls in congress something to yammer about to the MSM. From what they are saying, even some angry Teatroll mentioning the mere fact of the negotiations and proposed transfer, not even the details thereof, could have scuttled the whole thing. You want to be trusted, and in particular trusted not to turn everything into a political football? Then stop turning everything into a political football.

    June 11, 2014 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  13. Malory Archer

    Jbuffett
    Obama has repeated that the White House policy is to "not leave any soldier behind". That takes precedent over everything else. Our job is to make sure we do not leave any soldier behind. My question is where was that attitude and policy on Sept 11, 2011?

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Sgt. Bergdahl was the only POW on September 11, 2011 babe.

    June 11, 2014 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  14. sonny chapman

    What part of all this do Repubs hate the most ? Winding down a War ?

    June 11, 2014 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  15. Sniffit

    "Thats why he should have at least got congress or even some Dems on his side before he did it."

    He has plenty of Dems on his side. The fact that CNN and the MSM ONLY bother to report what people say if it's something bad and helps generate nontroversy doesn't mean that the very very few people they bother quoting are representative of every single other member of the Dem party or even the liberal public.

    June 11, 2014 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  16. sonny chapman

    American Politicians attacking American Combat Troops. Shades of Vietnam. TY Fox News.

    June 11, 2014 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  17. Ol' Yeller

    Yes, I remember when John McCain denounced America (under duress, like this guy). And then I remember when McCain was released (on exchange, like this guy). Then I remember how McCain immediately rejoined the military to fight against... no, wait... he didn't. In fact, it was years and years later before McCain almost brought a country to it's knees and that just happened to be this one... when he selected palin to be his running mate. I could argue that selection was greatest set back for this country in this century so far. It brought about a radicalized right wing fringe party who has purposefully shut down our government, have caused our credit rating to be dropped for the first time ever, uses dangerous rhetoric to gin up their base (which just so happens to be violent mentally ill folks with guns who then go out and kill innocent folks to start their 'revolution')...
    So maybe these 5 will go back and try to destroy thier country from within in their pursuit of power... just like McCain did.

    June 11, 2014 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  18. yeahright

    "So this idea that they couldn't trust us to not leak things is just not true."
    ++++++++++++++++

    Then why did Senator Saxby Chambliss make the following statement?

    “I’d have raised holy Hell,” he said. “Absolutely. I did last time and I would again.”

    “When I was asked about the 30-day congressional notification coming out of votes, I was referring to raising hell in the press about the Taliban officials release,” he said.

    June 11, 2014 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  19. tom l

    Mallory,

    Your post makes zero sense. So tell me, as you yell that they were held without being charged with a crime (which you appear to be very, very angry about) but then you go on to yell that they are POW's. Tell me what crime they would be criminal charges are levied against a POW? You are contradicting yourself in your own post. A personal best for you because you usually need another post or two to contradict your comments. So congrats on that.

    Plus, I must tell you that I'm very impressed that you have the insight and information to know that all of these now released Taliban members (who according to Rudy are not terrorists) have no contacts anymore! Kudos to you for giving us this very valuable information.

    June 11, 2014 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  20. Hector Slagg

    Trying to sweep this under the rug is like trying to get rid of a dead elephant. Not so easy. This will be controversial for the next 100 years.

    June 11, 2014 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  21. sonny chapman

    If anyone wants to know how the Repubs got the Reputation for being Warmongers, go back & look at the C-Span Footage of Brave Repub Congressmen marching up to the microphone in early 2003 bellowing about 'Taking Down Saddam". There was a glow in their eyes.

    June 11, 2014 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  22. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel returned to Congress on Wednesday to defend the deal that resulted in the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, saying the agreement to release five Afghan detainees was "fully consistent with U.S. law, our nation's interests and our military's core values."

    Yeah. And if Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly had their way the dude and his family would be dead by now.

    June 11, 2014 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  23. sonny chapman

    PS-these Brave Congressmen, along w/Draft Dodger Extraordinaire, Dick Cheney, were also denouncing as cowards, anyone who opposed their Grand Plan of Spreading Democracy in the Middle East. Sorry, that was AFTER the reports of NO WMDS turned out to be true.

    June 11, 2014 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  24. Marcus (from...?)

    tom l – If they are POW then criminal charges won't be thrown at them, but as soon as the US participation in Afghanistan's internal business (as bloody as they are) ends, EVERYBODY OUT!
    No person can be detained as POW if there's no 'War' to start with.
    If the USA wants to hold this or that guy behinds bars AFTER 2015 then criminal charges (in accordance with US laws, obviously) MUST be brought againsy 'him' or 'him' or 'them'.
    Or should the USA start to kidnap people (even very dangerous ones) all around the world and held them behind bars, without charges, for as long as the public opinion saw fit, and still claim that its Constitution is valid?

    June 11, 2014 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  25. David G

    There is and will be lots of speculation regarding the condition and health of our last remaining POW. Regardless, we can all say its good that he will eventually be returning home. 'Our' war in Afghanistan is coming to closure (hopefully) next year. If the Administration had waited to release GITMO POWs at the war's end that would have made more sense and less controversial since there would no longer a reason to retain those prisoners. Now that some of the key leaders of the Taliban are released it will be a matter of time before they acclimate themselves back into the fighting ranks with the remaining Taliban fighters. These guys are hardened fighters and their age is not an obstacle. They are considered heroes to the young fighters of the Taliban cause. Unfortunately for the Afghans, they will hear from these guys again .....

    June 11, 2014 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
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