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U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii was one of 22 House Democrats today who voted with all Republicans to condemn the Obama administration for not giving advance notice of the exchange of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl for five Taliban prisoners detained at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
“The executive branch is required by the 2014 Defense Appropriations Act to notify Congress at least 30 days before transferring prisoners at the Guantánamo Bay detention facility,” according to The Hill. “A Government Accountability Office report found last month that the administration violated the law by not adhering to the requirement.”
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.
Brian Tseng/Civil Beat
The Hill added, “President Obama defended not notifying Congress in May by arguing that potential leaks to the media could have jeopardized the deal with the Taliban to free the last American prisoner of war in Afghanistan.”
Most of the Democrats who voted with Republicans are reported to be in tough re-election battles, though that is not the case with Gabbard, who faces the same nominal candidate she crushed two years ago.
The vote comes, says The Hill, as the Army is working to complete its investigation of Bergdahl for leaving his post in Afghanistan, “which led to his imprisonment by the Taliban.”
UPDATE: Gabbard’s office released a statement from the congresswoman regarding her vote.
“Contrary to those who defend the release of these terrorist leaders, recent events in the Middle East make it painfully clear that our war with Muslim extremists is far from over. In fact, they are more powerful and dangerous today than ever,” she said. “Assessed in this light, the freeing of five high-level Muslim extremists was short-sighted and further evidence that our leaders have forgotten that we are at war and who the enemy is.”
She added, “I’m deeply concerned about the very real possibility that we will see one of these released terrorists beheading yet another American on YouTube. Negotiating with and giving in to the demands of these terrorists has set a very dangerous precedent since it is an established fact that such terrorists specifically targeted the citizens of nations who are willing to negotiate with them. It has put more Americans at risk.”
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