U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard was part of the House Armed Services Committee hearing today on the prisoner swap to recover Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

Gabbard, according to her office, shared her concern with Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel that exchanging Bergdahl for five members of the Taliban being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, poses a national security risk.

“The first warrior ethos that all servicemembers abide by is, ‘I will always place the mission first,'” Gabbard said in a press release after the Hagel hearing. “Although as a Soldier and veteran I know firsthand the importance of leaving no man behind, I also know that the context of each situation must be considered carefully to ensure that we are not compromising the mission: keeping our country and our people safe.”

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

Flickr: United States Army

Gabbard continued: “The fact is: the five Taliban terrorists who were released are strategists and commanders, not foot soldiers, and as such, present a threat to the United States and our interests, wherever they are free to strategize with Taliban and other leaders, even while they remain in Qatar.”

Hagel has defended the prisoner exchange. But the congresswoman said comments by the Obama administration that the released Taliban do not pose a significant threat “are preposterous.”

Gabbard pointed to the President’s Guantanamo Review Task Force in 2010 that she said determined that the five prisoners were “too dangerous to transfer.”

The prisoner swap, she said, “sets a dangerous precedent, and puts a target on the back of every American overseas, military and civilian.” 


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