Today, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel revealed that Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, an American soldier who was captured by the Taliban five years ago, has been exchanged for five Guantánamo Bay terrorists, who “will be secured in Qatar and will be subject to a travel ban for one year,” as reported at ABC News.
In a statement posted at the Washington Post, President Obama praised the Emir of Qatar and touted “America’s unwavering commitment to leave no man or woman in uniform behind on the battlefield,” but he failed to mention the prisoner exchange.
While it is undoubtedly wonderful news that Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who may have possibly deserted, will be returned to his family; it is known that the recidivism rate is high for terrorists who have been released from Gitmo.
In 2009, Elisabeth Bumiller of the New York Times reported that according to an “unpublished” Pentagon report, “about one in seven of the 534 prisoners already transferred abroad from the detention center in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, are engaged in terrorism or militant activity.”
“…I informed Congress of the decision to transfer five detainees from Guantánamo Bay to Qatar. The United States has coordinated closely with Qatar to ensure that security measures are in place and the national security of the United States will not be compromised. I appreciate the efforts of the Emir of Qatar to put these measures in place, and I want to thank him for his instrumental role in facilitating the return of Sgt. Bergdahl,” Hagel said.
Interestingly, neither President Obama or John Kerry tweeted about the prisoner exchange. Both of their latest tweets at the time of this writing surround how Americans “must do more” about man-made climate change.
However, the White House tweeted:
“Today, the American people are pleased that we will be able to welcome home Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl.” —Obama: pic.twitter.com/6uay3DMmZB
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) May 31, 2014
Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey tweeted:
It is our ethos that we never leave a fallen comrade. Welcome home SGT Bowe Bergdahl. — GEN Martin Dempsey (@Martin_Dempsey) May 31, 2014
The Obama administration has not released the names of the five detainees who will be transferred from Guantanamo.