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POLITICS: PennAve

Democrats call on Obama to disclose more details of Bowe Bergdahl deal

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Politics,Barack Obama,Afghanistan,PennAve,Susan Crabtree,Carl Levin,Taliban,Ben Cardin,Bowe Bergdahl

A Democrat on the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee is calling on the Obama administration to disclose all the details of the deal the administration made to swap Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl for five Taliban leaders, including how the five will be monitored in Qatar.

Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., said he has asked the administration to declassify as many details as possible about the deal it made with the Taliban.

“There's a misinformation out there and the more information you get you have a higher comfort level – make your own judgment about whether you think what was done was proper or not,” he said. “The more information you have, the better informed that decision will be.”

Cardin said he feels “a lot more comfortable” about what happened after receiving some of the details of the deal.

The Pentagon on Monday denied paying a ransom for Bergdahl after several national security experts and conservative commentators raised the question on whether the administration paid the Haqqani network, an Islamist militant group in Afghanistan, for his release.

Details still remain murky on how the government in Qatar, where the five Taliban leaders released from Guantanamo Bay will remain for one year, will monitor the former prisoners and what information - if any - about the five they are required to convey to U.S. intelligence authorities.

Asked by reporters whether the public knows everything about the monitoring of the five Taliban leaders in Qatar, Sen. Dick Durbin, the No. 2 Democratic leader in the Senate, said: “There's always more to know.”

Pressed again whether he was saying that specifically about the Bergdahl deal, Durbin repeated himself: “There's always more to know.”

Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., who chairs the Armed Services Committee, said the U.S. will keep “close tabs on” the five for a year; “beyond that, I can't say.”

He too said the administration should disclose "as many details [of the deal] as possible."

The Obama administration has characterized the Bergdahl swap as a standard exchange of prisoners at the end of a war, but critics have said that the Taliban still pose a terrorism threat and the war on terrorism will continue for the known future.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will testify before the House Armed Services Committee Wednesday on the Bergdahl exchange. The panel's Republicans plan to press the administration on its plans to ensure that the Taliban leaders remain in Qatar for one year and how the U.S. plans to keep tabs on them afterward.

When asked last week if it were possible for the Taliban leaders to return to the fight, Obama responded: “Absolutely.”

“Is there the possibility of some of them trying to return to activities that are detrimental to us? Absolutely,” Obama said while traveling in in Poland.

“That’s been true of all the prisoners that were released from Guantanamo. There’s a certain recidivism rate that takes place.”

In a recent report, NBC News quoted a Taliban commander as saying that one of the Taliban leaders freed from Guantanamo Bay in return for Bergdahl's release has pledged to return to fight Americans in Afghanistan.

“After arriving in Qatar, Noorullah Noori kept insisting he would go to Afghanistan and fight American forces there,” the commander is quoted as saying.

The story also quoted one of his relatives who resides in Afghanistan as saying that Noori is pushing to return to Afghanistan after learning that the U.S. had provided written assurances that no country would arrest any of the five freed for a year as long as they live peacefully.

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Susan Crabtree

White House Correspondent
The Washington Examiner