President Barack Obama continued to defend the exchange of five
Taliban detainees for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in an interview that aired
Friday, saying that he’d make the deal again despite criticism from members of Congress.
“This is something that I would do again, and I will continue to do wherever I have an opportunity, if I have a member of our military who’s in captivity,” Obama said in an interview with NBC News’ Brian Williams. “We’re gonna try to get ’em out.”
The President reiterated that he makes “no apologies” for going forward with the deal without notifying members of Congress 30 days beforehand, as required by law.
“As I said before, the main concern was we had to act fast in a delicate situation that required no publicity,” he said.
Criticism of the prisoner exchange has also focused on the Taliban detainees, whom some lawmakers fear will return to the battlefield once released.
“By definition you don’t do prisoner exchanges with your friends, you do them with your enemies,” Obama told Williams.
“It’s also important for us to recognize that the transition process of ending a war is gonna involve, on occasion, releasing folks who we may not trust but we can’t convict,” he added.
Watch below, courtesy of NBC News:
Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.