Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Rubio to Hagel: I'm troubled by Taliban prisoner exchange

Posted By on Tue, Jun 3, 2014 at 2:02 PM

click to enlarge rubio_hero.jpg
Informal polling on the prisoner swap over the weekend that brought American P.O.W. Bowe Bergdahl back to the west in exchange for five senior Afghan Taliban leaders shows growing opposition to the controversial move. Now Marco Rubio wants more answers from Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

In a letter penned to Hagel today, the Florida Senator says he is both "concerned" and "troubled" by the exchange which was announced on Saturday morning by President Obama himself at the White House. And he lists a series of questions.

• What were the recommendations of the Guantanamo Detainee Review Task Force with regard to the five detainees released?

• Were any of the released detainees responsible for the deaths of any Americans, including civilians, military and intelligence personnel?

• Has the Administration notified Congressional leadership of any additional names of detainees in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba that have been requested for release by the Taliban or are under consideration for release by the Administration?

• Has the Taliban requested the release of any additional detainees?

• Is the Administration actively seeking to resume peace negotiations with the Taliban or its affiliates?

• Was the release of the five senior level Taliban detainees intended to incentivize the Taliban to resume structured, reconciliation talks with the United States?

• Should the United States resume reconciliation talks with the Taliban, what preconditions have been set?

• What assurances has the U.S. Government received from the Government of Qatar regarding the monitoring of the five released detainees?

• Is the U.S. Government providing Qatar any additional money, monitoring technology or personnel support to track the released detainees?

• What has been the track record of the Qatari Government in monitoring previously released detainees? Have any detainees released to Qatar returned to the battlefield?

• Do you believe the release of these five detainees is in the best national security interest of the United States?
Rubio writes that "this Administration has failed in trying to answer these concerns and reassure the American people that these issues were fully considered, " and says "grave questions" remain. As more reports surface on Bergdahl himself, those questions are going to be asked by a number of other legislators as well. 

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