Illinois Republican congressman Adam Kinzinger called it “shocking” that the Obama administration would swap five high-level Taliban detainees for a captured American soldier without notifying Congress as the law stipulates, adding that he’s concerned about the safety of Americans in Afghanistan and elsewhere due to the exchange.
On Saturday, the Obama administration handed five high-level Taliban operatives held at Guantanamo Bay over to Taliban forces in exchange for Bowe Bergdahl, an Army Sgt. captured in 2009 after possibly abandoning his post and simply walking into the Afghan wilderness.
Although the law requires any administration to provide Congress a 30-day notification period before making an prisoner swap, Capitol Hill was not informed of the transfer until after the fact. That left some GOP lawmakers fuming — including Kinzinger, an Air Force veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“The release of five mid to high-level Taliban is shocking to me, especially without coming to Congress,” Kinzinger angrily told NBC’s David Gregory on Sunday. “It says in the law you have to notify Congress.”
And then putting five people potentially back on the battlefield,” the congressman continued. “Even though our troops are out in 2016 — which I think is shocking that the president once again went along with the timeline like he did in Iraq — you now are going to have five people potentially on the ground targeting American troops, Afghan troops, and the Afghan people.”
“There’s a lot of questions that need to be asked here,” Kinzinger concluded. “This whole exchange is just shocking to me, and I’m very disappointed.”