Despite criticism of the deal that freed five Taliban detainees to secure the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, President Obama told NBC’s Brian Williams on Friday that he believed it was the right thing to do.
“It’s also important for us to recognise that the transition process of ending a war is gonna involve, on occasion, releasing folks who we may not trust but we can’t convict,” Obama said in the interview with NBC in Normandy, France. “This is something that I would do again, and I will continue to do wherever I have an opportunity, if I have a member of our military who’s in captivity. We’re gonna try to get ’em out.”
The White House had come under fire over the swap from members of Congress, the public, and others in recent days, but had defended the negotiation for Bergdahl as important, citing the soldier’s declining health and the possibility he could be killed if details leaked of the deal.
The administration failed to notify Congress before releasing the prisoners from Guantanamo, despite a requirement that lawmakers be notified at least 30 days ahead of any transfer.
“We had to act fast in a delicate situation that required no publicity,” Obama said.
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