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October 14, 2015

Hagel: President Made Final Decision on Bergdahl Swap (Video)

UNITED STATES - MARCH 5: Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel testifies during the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the Defense Authorization Request for FY2015 on Wednesday, March 5, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Hagel testified that the final decision on the Bergdahl swap rested with Obama. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, testifying Wednesday before the House Armed Services Committee, told lawmakers that the Obama administration could have done a better job communicating with Congress on the decision to trade five Taliban prisoners for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

“Wars are messy, and they’re full of imperfect choices,” Hagel told the panel in his opening remarks. But he defended the White House decision to make the trade without notifying Congress, and he made it clear the decision came from the top.

“The president’s decision to move forward with the transfer of these detainees was a tough call,” Hagel said. “I supported it. I stand by it. As secretary of Defense, I have the authority and the responsibility, as has been noted here, to determine whether detainees … at Guantánamo Bay can be transferred to the custody of another country. I take that responsibility, Mr. Chairman, members of this committee, damn seriously. Damn seriously. As I do any responsibility I have in this job.”

Chairman Howard “Buck” McKeon created headlines a day earlier when he said, after being briefed by other administration officials, that “they indicated [it was] Secretary Hagel [who made the final call].”

Hagel pushed back at that claim Wednesday.

“Mr. Chairman, I want to be clear on one fundamental point — I would never sign off on any decision that I did not feel was in the best interests of this country. Nor would the president of the United States, who made the final decision with the full support of his national security team,” he said, reading from prepared remarks.

Hagel sharply criticized news coverage and characterizations of the Bergdahl family.

“I’ve been offended and disappointed in how the Bergdahl family has been treated by some people. No family deserves this. I hope there will be sober reflection on people’s conduct regarding this issue and how it relates to the Bergdahl family,” Hagel said.

Watch the live hearing below:

Comments (8)

  1. Rita__A

    June 11, 2014
    12:28 p.m.

    Of Course he did, that is why everything was screwed up, and the Congress was not told. ie:, US.

  2. Bob USAF(ret)

    June 11, 2014
    1:25 p.m.

    Didn’t the WH say Hagel had the final decision? Isn’t Obama the known liar?

  3. Uncle Rex

    June 13, 2014
    6:01 a.m.

    An overview of the thousands of jobs killed by Hussein Obama’s personal jihad against carbon fuels and the middle class:

  4. Bob Viering

    June 13, 2014
    8:11 p.m.

    Of course, this would have never become an issue had the Army not taken in Bergdahl who had washed out of the Coast Guard because of mental problems, had clearly shown from his correspondence that he was, at best, disturbed and then sent him to the front lines.

    Also, where were Bergdahl’s fellow soldiers with their stories about him when Republicans were screaming for Bergdahl’s release? Shouldn’t they have come forward then and said he was a bad soldier?

  5. Pie Thon

    June 14, 2014
    1:22 p.m.

    Here we find even more evidence of Hussein Obama’s vicious war against freedom of the press:

  6. Adam Smith

    June 15, 2014
    1:28 a.m.

    In a related YouTube video, we find a typical example of the Al Nusra Front “allies” that Hussein Obama has chosen to support in Syria:

  7. Ash Berger

    June 23, 2014
    9:14 p.m.

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