US defends captive swap with Taliban, critics stir

WASHINGTON (AP) — The release of a U.S. soldier captured in Afghanistan almost five years ago is stirring a sharp debate over whether the U.S. should have negotiated a deal with the Taliban.

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl (boh BURG’-dahl) was freed yesterday after President Barack Obama agreed to release five high-level Afghan detainees from the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Some Republicans say the deal could place U.S. troops in danger, especially if the freed detainees return to the fight. On CBS’ “Face the Nation,” Arizona Sen. John McCain described the detainees as “the hardest of the hard-core.”

On ABC’s “This Week,” Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas worried that the deal sends a message to terrorists that “if you capture a U.S. soldier, you can trade that soldier for five terrorists.”

Lawmakers also say Congress should have been informed of the deal 30 days in advance, as required by law.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says Congress wasn’t told because Berghahl’s “safety and health were both in jeopardy” and officials had to act quickly.

Bergdahl has been taken to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany for evaluation. It’s not clear when he’ll return to the United States.

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