Hagel: This prisoner swap might produce peace negotiations with the Taliban

Ed Morrissey
Hot Air

Members of Congress erupted in outrage over the prisoner swap that traded five high-ranking Taliban officials from GITMO for American POW Bowe Bergdahl, the only US soldier known to be held by the Taliban. Appearing on NBC’s Meet the Press, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel defended the decision to make the swap, arguing that Bergdahl’s life was in imminent danger and that the President has the exclusive authority to act in regard to prisoners captured in wartime.

We’ll get back to that point in a moment, but Hagel also argued that this trade could produce negotiations long sought by the US to end the civil war in Afghanistan…

…On the point of authority to execute this swap, though, Hagel and the Obama administration get pretty cynical:

Speaking to reporters aboard his aircraft en route to Bagram, Hagel rejected charges by some Republican lawmakers that the exchange of Bergdahl for five Taliban detainees held at Guantanamo prison had violated congressional requirements for advance notification on detainee transfers. He said that President Obama had used his executive power under the Constitution.

“We believe that the President of the United States, as commander in chief, has the power and authority to make the decision that he did under Article II of the Constitution,” Hagel said. Obama has hesitated at times to assert his executive power without seeking congressional approval.

If that sounds familiar, it should. George W. Bush used the same argument to defend the establishment of GITMO in the first place, along with the indefinite detention of people like the Taliban 5 that just got traded and the military commissions to try al-Qaeda terrorists at GITMO. Politicians like Barack Obama insisted that Bush didn’t have this authority…



The complete article, with video, is at HotAir.com



Related:    Hagel Says Release of Bowe Bergdahl Is “New Opening” For Talks With The Taliban…

So much for America’s long standing ban on negotiating with terrorists…


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