Mike Rogers: Bergdahl Deal Puts All Soldiers at Risk

Sunday, 01 Jun 2014 12:04 PM

By Greg Richter

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House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers called it "very troublesome" that the United States broke its longstanding policy against negotiating with terrorists to free Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl from Taliban captors.

Appearing Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union," Rogers disagreed with the assessment made earlier in the show by National Security Adviser Susan Rice that the exchange of Bergdahl for five Guantanamo Bay detainees was not the result of negotiating with terrorists.

Rice maintained that the United States was simply following the policy of leaving no man behind on the field of battle. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told the press Bergdahl's health was deteriorating and his life was in danger.

Rice on Sunday also characterized the action as a prisoner of war exchange, much like is done when the United States has been at war with other countries.

But Rogers dismissed that comparison, saying that the various groups of Muslim extremists fighting America are not a traditional nation-state with control of a particular country's assets.

Rogers said the exchange will only embolden other terrorists who currently are holding Americans hostage to believe they now have a valuable asset.

"We have now set a price," Rogers said. "So we have a changing footprint in Afghanistan, which would put our soldiers at risk for this notion that if I can get one I can get five Taliban released."

The administration came to Congress a year ago and said they were thinking about negotiating for such releases, Rogers said, and were met with a cool reception from members of both parties on the national security committees.

The country of Qatar acted as a go-between in the talks and has said it will monitor the men for a year to keep them from participating in terrorist activities.

Nicholas Burns, who served as undersecretary of State in the George W. Bush administration told CNN he isn't sure the small government of Qatar has the apparatus to maintain the detainees.

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