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Rep. Duncan Hunter Says U.S. Attempted Payment to Secure Soldier’s Freedom

Rep. Duncan Hunter Says U.S. Attempted Payment to Secure Soldier’s Freedom

Sgt. Bergdahl was freed in a deal mediated by the government of Qatar, after the Obama administration released five Taliban prisoners from the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The trade has been criticized by Republicans, who said it created an incentive to take Americans hostage and complained the administration ignored legal provisions mandating congressional notification before transferring detainees from Guantanamo.

In his letter, Mr. Hunter asked Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to make new inquires with the Joint Special Operations Command about the allegations that the U.S. made the payment.

According to Mr. Hunter, the intermediary took the money but disappeared and failed to secure Sgt. Bergdahl’s release. Mr. Hunter didn’t specify how much money was paid to the Afghan intermediary, and didn’t identify the sources of his information.

The U.S. government is prohibited from paying ransom to terror groups, such as the Haqqani Network. However, it isn’t clear whether a payment to an Afghan intermediary who isn’t a member of a terror group would constitute an illegal ransom.

The Republican congressional victories on Tuesday could breathe new life into congressional investigations into the deal that secured Sgt. Bergdahl’s release.

The Republican-controlled House Armed Services Committee has been investigating the prisoner swap, an inquiry set to conclude by early December.

The Army has been conducting its own probe of the events leading up to Sgt. Bergdahl’s disappearance from his outpost in eastern Afghanistan in 2009.

Since his release, Sgt. Bergdahl has been assigned to Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio. Military officials haven’t described his duties in detail, saying he has a “desk job” and won’t be deployed overseas.

Read More:Rep. Duncan Hunter Says U.S. Attempted Payment to Secure Soldier’s Freedom – WSJ – WSJ.

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