Chuck Todd: Bergdahl Swap is About Emptying Gitmo

Friday, 06 Jun 2014 10:32 AM

By Melanie Batley

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The release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in the prisoner swap that set five senior Taliban leaders free was simply a convenient opportunity motivated by President Barack Obama's desire to start the closure of the Guantanamo prison, said Chuck Todd, chief White House correspondent for NBC News.

"I have to say, I think this is all about Gitmo," Todd said Thursday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

Urgent: Approve of Obama’s Taliban Swap? Vote Here

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"Everything about this has been about Gitmo, and finally we heard an Obama administration official yesterday, Marie Harf, one of the spokespeople at the State Department, for the first time said something on the record that I had been hearing on background and off the record is, 'We had to get something for these guys because we were eventually going to have to release them anyway.'"

He added that the Bergdahl release was a "PR attempt" by the administration to deflect partisan controversy over releasing detainees.

"I think they anticipated that fight so they thought well, let's do a rally-around-the-flag moment. We know that there was certainly a bipartisan group of members of Congress who wanted Bergdahl released," Todd said.

Earlier this week, Congressional Republicans also raised concerns that the Bergdahl prisoner swap was part of the Obama administration's intention to fulfill its commitment to close the Guantanamo prison by the end of the year, as the president set out in his State of the Union address in January.

"They've lined up all the dominoes to be able to move a lot more detainees out of Guantanamo and this could be just the beginning," a GOP aide told The Daily Beast.

Urgent: Approve of Obama’s Taliban Swap? Vote Here

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