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Hagel under fire, defends swap of Taliban prisoners for Bergdahl

Wednesday, June 11, 2014 - 01:56

June 11 - U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel defended Washington's decision to swap five Taliban leaders to win the release of Army war prisoner Bowe Bergdahl. Jillian Kitchener reports.

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U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel came under congressional fire Tuesday. With Republicans furious over how the White House handled the release of Taliban prisoners in exchange for Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl. (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY CHUCK HAGEL SAYING: "We do whatever it takes to recover any U.S. service member held in captivity. This pledge is woven into the fabric of our nation and our military." But Congress wants answers as to why they weren't informed at least 30 days before the swap -- the lawful time period. Hagel says exceptional circumstances didn't allow for it: (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY CHUCK HAGEL SAYING: "As the opportunity to obtain Sergeant Bergdahl's release became clearer, we grew increasingly concerned that any delay, or any leaks, could derail the deal and further endanger Sergeant Bergdahl. We were told by the Qataris that a leak would end the negotiations for Bergdahl's release." After five years in Taliban captivity, Bergdahl is currently being treated at a U.S. military hospital in Germany. A senior lawmaker has confirmed reports that Bergdahl had been kept in a cage while held in Afghanistan. Even so, Republicans are left wondering why he can't be questioned, or brought back to the U.S.. (SOUNDBITE) (English) REPUBLICAN (FLORIDA) JEFF MILLER, SAYING: "Have you ever thought about going to Landstuhl and talking to him there?" (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY CHUCK HAGEL SAYING: "Well I don't know how much medical training you've had congressman. I haven't had much. And what we're doing is allowing..." (SOUNDBITE) (English) REPUBLICAN (FLORIDA) JEFF MILLER, SAYING: "I'll tell you what - Mr. Secretary, wait a minute. Wait a minute. Why hasn't he been returned to the United States?" Hagel said a U.S. Army review would examine the legal issues surrounding the capture of Bergdahl. He's been accused by some of his former comrades of walking away from his post voluntarily.

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Hagel under fire, defends swap of Taliban prisoners for Bergdahl

Wednesday, June 11, 2014 - 01:56

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