Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton stepped in to offer some support as President Barack Obama’s administration continued to defend a controversial prisoner swap with the Taliban.
“This young man, whatever the circumstances, was an American citizen — is an American citizen — was serving in our military,” Clinton said of the deal that freed Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl Monday night, according to the Associated Press. “The idea that you really care for your own citizens and particularly those in uniform, I think is a very noble one.”
Clinton was headlining a “Unique Lives & Experiences” event near Denver, Colorado, when she was asked about last weekend’s exchange of Bergdahl, who was captured and held for five years in Afghanistan, with five Guantanamo Bay detainees. Critics of the swap have questioned its legality and have highlighted accusations Bergdahl was a deserter.
Clinton, a former U.S. secretary of state who is widely expected to enter the race to replace Obama in 2016, acknowledged some of these concerns. However, she also argued it was simply more important to protect American citizens abroad. According to the AP, Clinton also pointed out Israel’s exchange of more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners for one of its soldiers in 2011.
“You don’t want to see these five prisoners go back to combat. There’s a lot that you don’t want to have happen. On the other hand you also don’t want an American citizen, if you can avoid it, especially a solider, to die in captivity,” she continued. “I think we have a long way to go before we really know how this is going to play out.”
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