Rep. Kinzinger: I Have a 'Lot of Questions' on Bergdahl Release

Monday, 09 Jun 2014 12:18 PM

By Wanda Carruthers

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There are a "lot of questions" Rep. Adam Kinzinger said he'll ask officials of President Barack Obama's administration during an upcoming meeting on Capitol Hill surrounding the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

A closed-door briefing is scheduled on Monday to explain the exchange of Bergdahl for five Guantanamo Bay detainees. House members will meet with representatives from the White House, the Pentagon, and State Department, according to CNN.

"I've got a lot of questions. First and foremost, I spent all week listening to the administration say we're a country that never leaves their people behind. We'll never leave you behind," the Illinois Republican and pilot in the Air National Guard told "Fox & Friends" on Monday.

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"That's all well and good, except when I went through survival training, we talked about the issue of being left behind. It was pretty much an understanding that as long as you don't leave your country behind, your country will never leave you behind. So, that said, we all know the questions around Bowe Bergdahl and the deserter status," he added.

Kinzinger said he also wanted to know why it was "important to release five of the highest-ranking opposition and Taliban in order to get [Bergdahl's] release."

He wondered what the administration was "trying to accomplish" by the prisoner swap.

In addition, Kinzinger questioned why the intelligence community wasn't consulted. While administration officials have downplayed the threat of the five Guantanamo prisoners, Kinzinger predicted they would re-enter the battle in Afghanistan.

"They're going to go back with legendary status as the survivors of Gitmo. And they're going to lead troops into combat against American troops, yes, but also against the Afghan people," he said.

Rep. Kevin McCarthy told Fox News' "America's Newsroom" on Monday that he anticipated a host of questions would be asked at the Monday briefing. Specifically, he wondered how the administration could maintain the world was safer "after releasing those five."

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McCarthy expressed concern that the United States may have paid money to the terrorists, in addition to the release of the five prisoners. He questioned the negotiation tactics of the White House.

"Now we are hearing maybe money and ransom was paid," McCarthy said. "It almost seems they gave everything that the terrorists would ask for. What type of negotiations is that? How does that make America safer? How does that set up America for the future?"

McCarthy, a California Republican, said Obama did not consult with Congress prior to the prisoner exchange because "he didn't like the answer he was going to get from both sides of the aisle."

The incident had now "set a pattern of this is how America acts," McCarthy said, adding that the administration, in bypassing Congress, "knowingly ... broke the law when they went through this."

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