The five Taliban prisoners who were exchanged for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl are "the hardest of the hard core," and it was always obvious that they'd go back to their jihadist comrades, Sen. John McCain said Friday.
"To expect them not to go back in the fight, to somehow undergo some conversion, is just damned foolishness," the Arizona Republican told Fox News' "On the Record with Greta Van Susteren."
"They are the worst of the worst."
McCain pointed out that all five of the exchanged Guantanamo prisoners are free to "go anywhere in three months," and that a full 30 percent of other prisoners released from Guantanamo have already rejoined their fights in the Middle East.
"They have re-entered the fight at high levels because it's a badge of honor," said McCain, who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee. "This is further proof that it's a bad, bad idea."
McCain said the news that at least one of the five prisoners has been in contact with extremists raises questions about what the United States does not know.
Van Susteren pointed out that the U.S. notified Qatar, where the prisoners are staying until the one-year agreement is up, that the contact had been made, not the other way around.
And once Qatar releases the five prisoners, McCain said, "additional Americans will be threatened … [They will] pose a direct danger to American men and women who are serving. That is not acceptable."
McCain went on to say that there are still questions about Bergdahl, who may still face charges
of desertion for leaving his post.
"Why in the world is this taking so long?" McCain said. "Something is wrong. The system should not have taken that long. The investigation was too long and obviously we are going to be demanding answers. [Defense Secretary nominee] Ash Carter is going to be up before the Armed Services Committee in a week for his confirmation. That's one of the questions that is going to be asked of him."
McCain also ridiculed the White House's refusal to call the Taliban a terror organization.
"It's part of this whole idea they have of not calling things what they are and withdrawing and everything is going to be OK," said McCain. "And the president's obliviousness to the things that are happening in the world is — we are writing a shameful chapter in American history."
Retired Lt. Col. Oliver North, also on Friday night's show, pointed out that the five exchanged prisoners were in the Guantanamo Bay prison for so long because "they are terrorists."
And releasing them and putting them in Qatar, only be to released in three more months, means their communications will be "completely lost," said North.
However, North does not believe that the former prisoners will "return to the battlefield by strapping on a body bomb or driving a car bomb into an embassy. They are directing other people who do that."
And people meet with them "then get on an airplane and go somewhere in Islamabad or pass the messages on to one another."
Like McCain, North disagrees with the White House's assessment of the Taliban, saying that "the Taliban are terrorists" who killed three Americans.
"The dancing around the head of the pin and trying to define a terrorist from an insurgent who is armed is absolutely loopy," said North.
The Obama administration has deceived the American people on many things, North said, but now, "the fact is, the big concern ought to be, are they deceiving themselves? Because if they are, that's dangerous. It's dangerous for us. It's dangerous for our countrymen."
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