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Senator Calls for Hearing on Taliban Trade

2:18 PM, Jun 2, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
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Senator Lindsey Graham has written a letter to Senate Armed Services Committee chair Carl Levin and ranking member Jim Inhofe asking for them to hold a hearing on the Obama administration's deal with the Taliban.

"I write today requesting an immediate hearing on the exchange of five high-ranking Taliban leaders for the release of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl. While I appreciate an American was released from captivity, this decision by the Obama Administration has serious implications for our future national security," reads Graham's letter.

The five terrorists released were the hardest of the hard-core. They held positions of great importance within the hard-core anti-American Taliban, including the Chief of Staff of the Taliban Army and the Taliban Deputy Minister of Intelligence. They have American blood on their hands and surely as night follows day they will return to the fight. In effect, we released the “Taliban Dream Team.” The United States is less safe because of these actions.

I fear President Obama’s decision will inevitably lead to more Americans being kidnapped and held hostage throughout the world.

There are also questions about why the Administration failed to comply with the law. We need a thorough review of this decision and I urge you to hold a hearing on this matter as it has profound implications for our national security.

With President Obama’s announcement of a total withdrawal from Afghanistan by 2016 – basically canceling an insurance policy to protect our homeland – and now releasing five Taliban leaders, it’s safe to say last week was a great week for the Taliban.

The boss called for Congress to look into the matter this morning in his weekly newsletter. Here's an excerpt:

We and others in the media will continue to do our best to find out more about the deal and its implications. But what's needed now is congressional hearings--hearings on what the Army's exhaustive investigation into the circumstances of Bergdahl's disappearance showed, on whether Obama and Susan Rice were briefed on the conclusions of that investigation, on why Obama thought it wise or necessary for the deal to happen now, and on the whole backstory and history of the deal that was announced last weekend.

One congressman pointed out to me on the phone last night that this release happened as the House was going on recess for a week, so that it will be hard to launch hearings promptly. But on recess or not, the House Armed Services Committee and the House Intelligence Committee--as well as the relevant Senate committees--should call hearings as soon as possible to get the whole story. A hostage swap like this is a rare thing in American history, and deserves careful scrutiny. The circumstances of Bergdahl's captivity make an investigation even more urgent. American soldiers died trying to find Bergdahl. Americans may die as a result of the deal.

There will be pressure to "move on," and there will be efforts to hide behind the humanitarian case for Bergdahl's release to preclude a real debate. But members of Congress should be willing to brave a certain amount of media opprobrium and political pressure to try to find out the truth about this deal. Will they?

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