Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says the decision to strike a deal with the Taliban for the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was unanimous in the White House.
Barack Obama’s administration had to act quickly and without first consulting Congress, he added.
Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was freed after five years in captivity, in exchange for five Taliban figures from Guantanamo Bay.
The White House is required to notify Congress 30 days before transferring detainees from Guantanamo Bay but thought waiting was too risky.
Chuck Hagel was speaking the day after a welcoming party in Sgt Bergdahl’s home town of Hailey, Idaho, was cancelled, and amid suspicions that he deserted his post.
Organizers said the event was called off because of a large increase in the number of expected attendees.
Several commentators and soldiers have branded Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl a deserter and called for him to be punished.
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