- The Washington Times - Monday, June 2, 2014

Rep. Gregory Meeks, New York Democrat, said Monday he’s giving the administration the benefit of the doubt on the transfer of five former Guantanamo Bay detainees for the freedom of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, saying President Obama’s past performance on terrorism indicates he’s not about to put Americans in harm’s way.

“The rules are in place for a reason and I believe that when you can, you come back to Congress,” Mr. Meeks said on MSNBC.

Republicans have criticized the administration for failing to notify Congress within at least 30 days of the details behind the operation to free Sgt. Bergdahl, who had been held by the Taliban for more than five years. Administration officials have defended the move by saying they had to act quickly to save the sergeant’s life.

Mr. Meeks added that there are, at times, “extraordinary circumstances” under the rules requiring 30 days of notice for such transfers from Guantanamo Bay, such as the fact that Sgt. Bergdahl’s life appeared to be in imminent danger.

“And if that’s the case then the administration has to do what it has to do in a timely fashion, because otherwise, [they’d] be criticized the other way, which is devastating if, in fact, the prisoner loses his life and we don’t get him back,” he said.

Mr. Meeks says that as a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, he looks forward to returning and getting all the facts in a classified session.

“This president has not been a soft president,” he said. “He has gone after the bad guys as hard, if not harder, than anybody that we know. In fact, he’s been criticized for doing it so hard. So I have an intrinsic trust that there is some information that’s there, and so yes, that gives me some reason of confidence because I look at his past performance in going after the terrorists and the Taliban.

“And I think that he knows that any president — they’re going to do whatever they can to make sure that Americans [are] safe and they’re not going to commit or do an act that would endanger us,” he continued.

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