White House defends prisoner swap decision
WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): The Obama Administration on Monday defended its decision to release five Taliban prisoners from the high profile Guantanamo Bay terrorist detention center in lieu of Sgt Bowe Bergdahl, who was under Taliban captivity for nearly five years.
“Prisoner exchanges in armed conflicts are hardly a new development, including in our history in the United States. Whether it’s the Japanese or the North Koreans or others, we have engaged in prisoner exchanges in the past. The US does not leave our men and women in uniform behind,” the White House Press Secretary, Jay Carney, told reporters at his daily news conference.
Arguing that prisoner exchanges are not uncommon in armed conflicts, Carney said the condition for release of five Taliban prisoners includes a travel ban and information-sharing on the detainees between the United States and Qatar.
“I can also tell you that the assurances were sufficient to allow the Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, in coordination with the national security team, to determine that the threat posed by the detainees to the United States would be sufficiently mitigated and that the transfer was in the US national security interest,” he said.
“So this was done after the appropriate consideration and analysis, and it was the judgment of the Secretary of Defense in coordination with the entire national security team that there was sufficient mitigation in place and assurances in place to allow the exchange,” Carney said.
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