Sgt. Bowe Bergdhal’s capture and the merits of the trade that resulted in his freedom remained under scrutiny on Sunday, as the administration continues to defend the decision.
"What I know today is what the President of the United States knows. That it would have been offensive and incomprehensible to consciously leave an American behind, no matter what, to leave an American behind in the hands of people who would torture him, cut off his head, do any number of things, and we would consciously choose to do that. That’s the other side of this equation. I don’t think anyone would, that’s the appropriate thing to do," said Secretary of State John Kerry on CNN’s "State of the Union."
Lawmakers noted that the Taliban 5 are dangerous criminals with connections to terrorists who may not be monitored in Qatar.
"I think we should do everything we can in our power to win the release of any American being held, but not at the expense of the lives and well being of their fellow service men and women," said Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) on "State of the Union."
"Qatar is not renowned for its ability to keep things in security. We know that 30 percent of those who were released from Guantanamo before have re-entered the fight," McCain said. "These people are in the leadership. They are the ones who are dedicated, the hardest of hardcore, and by the way, they became a lot harder after their years in Guantanamo. … That's why Leon Panetta, that's why so many other members of Congress oppose this deal."
When asked if she feared the deal would put other Americans in danger, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said she did not know whether the deal endangered others.
"It's hard to be comfortable when you really haven't been briefed on the intricacies of carrying out this agreement," said Feinstein on CBS’s "Face the Nation.
Rep. Mike Rogers (R., Mich.) contended that this deal was not the only option available to the United States, but now that it’s done there are broader, more serious ramifications.
"The focus has been: is one soldier worth it, not worth it? I think that completely misses the problem here. This is a huge, regional problem for the United States now. … This was the wrong message at the wrong time," said Rogers on ABC’s "This Week."
"[The Taliban 5’s] real value in the next 51 weeks is propaganda by the Taliban," Rogers said. "They can meet with Taliban political leaders in Qatar, they can have family members travel to Qatar, back through Pakistan and Afghanistan. We believe that's an opportunity for a courier network to get them prepared for what's next. They're smart enough to know better. It allows them to prepare for what's next and that's going to be to join the fight."
Feinstein is also worried about the behavior of these five hardened terrorists once they are free.
"I heard John Kerry this morning say, ‘don’t worry about them in Doha,’ you can’t help but worry about them in Doha and we have no information on how the United States is actually going to see that they remain in Doha, that they make no comments, that they do no agitation, and another rumor is that one Taliban has apparently said that he would return to the battle field. So it’s a mixed bag at best," she said.