(NBC News) – The release of an American POW in Afghanistan has the Obama Administration on defense about the price they paid to bring him home.
Five top Taliban leaders are free this morning – and so is an American prisoner of war.
Two parents’ reaction could be seen to news that their son is free after five years in captivity in Afghanistan. “I’m so looking forward to seeing your face after these last five and a half years,” Jani Bergdahl, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s Mother.
“I’m proud of how much you wanted to help the Afghan people,” said his father Robert Bergdahl.
Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl — a prisoner of war — freed in exchange for five of the most dangerous Taliban commanders at Guantanamo Bay. “These are the hardest of the hard-core. These are the highest high-risk people,” declared Senator John McCain, (R) Arizona.
And they’re already being welcomed home.
There are questions this morning about whether this exchange put the U.S. at risk. “The number one way al Qaeda raises money is by ransom, kidnapping and ransom. We have now set a price,” said Rep. Mike Rogers, (R) Michigan.
“We didn’t negotiate with terrorists[.] That’s a normal process in getting your prisoners back,” said Chuck Hagel, Secretary of Defense.
And lawmakers want to know why they didn’t get 30 days notice of the exchange, as required by law. “We did not have 30 days to wait and had we waited and lost him I don’t think anybody would have forgiven the United States government,” said National Security Advisor, Susan Rice.
This morning he’s recovering at Landstuhl medical center in Germany.