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GOP lawmakers warn of Taliban incentives in freeing American POW

- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 1, 2014

Two Republican defense leaders in Congress have warned that trading terrorists for an American POW now gives al Qaeda and the Taliban a bigger incentive to capture American service members.

Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon of California, chairman of the House Committee on Armed Services, and Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma, ranking member of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, also said President Obama violated a law that requires him to notify Congress before releasing inmates at Guantanamo.

The two issued a joint statement Saturday after the White House announced it had traded five Taliban terrorists held at the prison in Cuba for Army Sgt. Bowe Berghdal, who fell into enemy hands five years ago.

While celebrating his release, the two lawmakers said: “In the days ahead however, we must carefully examine the means by which we secured his freedom. America has maintained a prohibition on negotiating with terrorists for good reason. Trading five senior Taliban leaders from detention in Guantanamo Bay for Berghdal’s release may have consequences for the rest of our forces and all Americans."

"Our terrorist adversaries now have a strong incentive to capture Americans. That incentive will put our forces in Afghanistan and around the world at even greater risk," they said.

Mr. McKeon and Mr. Inhofe also said the president "clearly violated laws which require him to notify Congress thirty days before any transfer of terrorists from Guantanamo Bay and to explain how the threat posed by such terrorists has been substantially mitigated."

The trade requires Qatar, which brokered the deal, to detain the five in the Persian Gulf country for one year.

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