Washington Debates Legality of Bergdahl/Taliban Swap

The Obama administration is trading barbs with Republican lawmakers over the legality of Taliban prisoners released in exchange for the freedom of U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl from captivity in Afghanistan.

The top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Chuck Grassley, says top Obama administration officials have admitted to flouting U.S. law mandating that Congress be notified 30 days before prisoners are released from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

"They violated the law, and anybody in public service takes an oath to uphold the law and ought to keep that oath," said Grassley.

The means for securing Bergdahl's release last Saturday are expected to be a focus of upcoming congressional hearings. At the White House, Obama spokesman Jay Carney brushed aside allegations of wrongdoing.

"It should not have come as a surprise to members of Congress that this [exchange] was possible, because we had been working to secure Sergeant Bergdahl's release for a long time. Prisoner exchanges in armed conflicts are hardly a new development," said Carney.

Carney added that the United States does not "leave our men and women in uniform behind."

VOA News / Jun. 04, 2014 08:05 KST