One of the five Taliban leaders traded for the release of U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl may have returned to terrorism, CNN reports
The Pentagon would not confirm which of the five is believed to have been in communication with Islamic militants, CNN's Barbara Starr reported Thursday on CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper."
U.S. intelligence is monitoring the communications of the men, who were released to Qatar last summer in exchange for Bergdahl, who had been held by the Taliban for five years. Those communications reportedly showed the suspect to have reached out to militants.
The information has sparked debate in the intelligence community, Starr said, with some officials saying the man poses no direct threat, though the communications of all five now are being monitored more closely.
But other officials say they might change the classification from "suspected" to "confirmed."
Starr writes on CNN.com
that intelligence laws define "confirmed" as a "preponderance of information which identifies a specific former GITMO detainee as directly involved in terrorist or insurgent activities," while the definition of "suspected" is "plausible but unverified or single-source reporting indicating a specific former GITMO detainee is directly involved in terrorist or insurgent activities."
The five were released from the U.S. military facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, popularly referred to as "Gitmo."
The case raises problems for the Obama administration, which is continuing to release Guantanamo detainees in what observers say is an effort to eventually close the detention facility.
The case also has been trouble for the White House because Bergdahl was captured after allegedly voluntarily walking off base alone. Some of his own platoon-mates have said he deserted his post, and retired Lt. Col. Tony Schaffer has been telling the press this week that a completed but unreleased report on the case will charge Bergdahl with desertion.
The Pentagon denies that, saying no final decision has been made.
Gen. Anthony Zinni, former commander in chief of U.S. Central Command, told CNN the release is likely to strain U.S. relations with Qatar, which has received several released detainees and promised to monitor them.
"If they have left and have gone back to Afghanistan, I think there's going to be some serious repercussions, especially with our relationships with the Qataris," Zinni said.
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