Washington, DC – Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) today questioned Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel in a hearing today at the House Armed Services Committee on the prisoner swap to recover Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. She released the following statement detailing her concerns about the risk the prisoner swap will pose to national security:
“The first warrior ethos that all servicemembers abide by is, ‘I will always place the mission first.’ Although as a Soldier and veteran I know firsthand the importance of leaving no man behind, I also know that the context of each situation must be considered carefully to ensure that we are not compromising the mission: keeping our country and our people safe. The fact is: the five Taliban terrorists who were released are strategists and commanders, not foot soldiers, and as such, present a threat to the United States and our interests, wherever they are free to strategize with Taliban and other leaders, even while they remain in Qatar.
“The recent statements by the administration that these terrorists do not pose a significant threat are preposterous. The President’s Guantanamo Review Task Force in 2010 determined that these five were ‘too dangerous to transfer.’ The task force concluded that each of these five individuals ‘poses a high level of threat that cannot be mitigated sufficiently except through continued detention.’ Not only are they no longer detained, they have been sent to a country where the Taliban operates openly and legally, with a headquarters based there. Qatari officials have made it clear that they are free to move about, with no limitations on who they can meet with, further proving they are still a serious threat.
“Furthermore, this deal sets a dangerous precedent, and puts a target on the back of every American overseas, military and civilian.”
Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard raised several concerns with Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel in a hearing of the House Armed Services Committee today.