White House Apologizes for No Notice on Sgt. Bergdahl - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

White House Apologizes for No Notice on Sgt. Bergdahl

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The White House has apologized to key lawmakers for not notifying them in advance about the exchange of five Taliban detainees for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.
 
Sens. Dianne Feinstein of California and Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, the top Democrat and Republican respectively on the Senate Select committee on Intelligence, said White House officials called them Monday to say the lack of notification had been an oversight. Feinstein said she received a call from Deputy National Security Adviser Tony Blinken.
 
The White House did not immediately comment on the calls.
 
The White House damage control comes as Republican lawmakers accused the White House of putting U.S. service men and women at risk by releasing the five top Taliban members being held in Guantanamo in exchange for Bergdahl.

Despite questions about whether Bergdahl deserted his unit in Afghanistan before being held for five years by the Taliban, President Obama says the government isn't currently looking to punish him as a deserter.
 
Obama says the top priority now is for Bergdahl to have a "successful" transition. But Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, says the Army may still pursue an investigation that could lead to desertion charges.
 
Obama also told reporters in Poland today that his administration has consulted with Congress "for some time" about a possible prisoner exchange for the release of Bergdahl.

House Speaker John Boehner says top members of Congress were briefed more than two years ago about the possibility of exchanging an American soldier held captive by the Taliban for five terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
 
In a statement, Boehner said lawmakers raised serious concerns that were never satisfactorily answered about the potential swap involving Bergdahl. Congress wasn't informed until word came this past Saturday of the exchange.
 
Boehner welcomed Bergdahl's release but said one of the greatest protections for Americans fighting overseas as well as diplomats is that the U.S. does not negotiate with terrorists. In this case, however, he said that protection has been compromised.
 
Boehner said he supports efforts to hold hearings on the administration's failure to consult with Congress.

The 28-year-old Army sergeant from Hailey, Idaho, was released over the weekend by his Taliban captors into the custody of the U.S. military.
 
In return, the U.S. freed five Taliban detainees from the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. (AP)

Secretary of the Army John McHugh released the following statement:
 
"As an Army, we are grateful that an American soldier is back in American hands. The warrior ethos is more than words, and we should never leave a comrade behind.
 
"Our first priority is ensuring Sgt. Bergdahl's health and beginning his reintegration process. There is no timeline for this, and we will take as long as medically necessary to aid his recovery.
 
"As Chairman Dempsey indicated, the Army will then review this in a comprehensive, coordinated effort that will include speaking with Sgt. Bergdahl to better learn from him the circumstances of his disappearance and captivity. All other decisions will be made thereafter, and in accordance with appropriate regulations, policies and practices."


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