Rep. Kinzinger: Taliban Prisoner Release 'Shocking to Me'

By Susan Jones | June 2, 2014 | 4:54am EDT

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) (AP File Photo)

( - "This whole exchange is shocking to me, and I'm very disappointed," said Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), commenting Sunday on the Obama administration's decision to swap Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl for five terror suspects being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

"Look, let me says this -- welcome home, Bowe," Kinzinger, an Air Force veteran, told NBC's "Meet the Press."

"There's a lot of questions about why he got terms of abandoning his post. So I'm going to celebrate him coming home. The release of five mid- to high-level Taliban is shocking to me, especially without coming to Congress.  It says in the law you have to notify Congress."

The Obama administration says it agreed to the prisoner swap without notifying Congress because it said Bergdahl's health was at risk.

"You now are going to have five people potentially on the ground targeting American troops, Afghan troops and the Afghan people. Thre's a lot of questions that need to be asked here," Kinzinger concluded.

One of the main concerns is whether the prisoner swap will encourage terrorists to capture more Americans as bargaining chips.  

Earlier on "Meet the Press," Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel refused to comment on how Bergdahl ended up being captured by the Taliban in 2009.

Those questions "will be dealt with later," Hagel said.

According to the Associated Press: "Hagel, visiting troops in Afghanistan, "was met with silence when he told a group of them in a Bagram Air Field hangar: 'This is a happy day. We got one of our own back.' It was unclear whether the absence of cheers and applause came from a reluctance to display emotion in front of the Pentagon chief or from any doubts among the troops about Bergdahl."

As of Monday morning, Bergdahl was being evaluated at a military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany, after he was turned over to U.S. Special Forces in eastern Afghanistan.

The five Taliban detainees left Guantanamo aboard a U.S. military aircraft flying to Qatar, which served as go-between in the negotiations. Under terms of the deal, they are supposed to remain in Qatar for at least one year.

The five terror suspects include a Taliban deputy intelligence minister, a former Taliban interior minister with ties to al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden and a figure linked by human rights monitors to mass killings of Shiite Muslims in Afghanistan in 2000 and 2001.

(The Associated Press contributed some of the information included in this report.)

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