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Tuesday 16 September 2014

Obama defends secrecy around prisoner swap

Published 06/06/2014 | 02:30

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US Army Sergeant Bowe Berghdal is pictured in this undated handout photo provided by the US Army. Reuters
US Army Sergeant Bowe Berghdal is pictured in this undated handout photo provided by the US Army. Reuters
A Blackhawk helicopter waits as US Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl (2nd R, back facing) is being led to the American military during his release at the Afghan border, in this still image from video.   Reuters
A Blackhawk helicopter waits as US Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl (2nd R, back facing) is being led to the American military during his release at the Afghan border, in this still image from video. Reuters
Jani and Bob Bergdahl, parents of US Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl. Reuters
Jani and Bob Bergdahl, parents of US Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl. Reuters

The White House has told members of Congress that they were kept in the dark about the deal to free Sgt Bowe Bergdahl because the Taliban threatened to kill him if news of the prisoner swap leaked.

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US officials told senators they had no choice but to act swiftly and in secret in order to save the life of the 28-year-old soldier.

The claim, made during a classified briefing, came as Democrats and Republicans rejected the White House's initial explanations for why it did not inform Congress about the decision to swap five Taliban leaders for Sgt Bergdahl, as required by US law.

President Barack Obama said yesterday he makes "absolutely no apologies" for the deal as the backlash in the US forced the cancellation of a planned homecoming celebration for Sgt Bergdahl.

Public mood has soured on the exchange since Sunday, as more of Sgt Bergdahl's former comrades stepped forward to accuse him of desertion.

Sgt Bergdahl is still recovering in a military hospital in Germany, where officials said his English was coming back. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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