Republican members of Congress are saying that President Barack Obama broke the law in a prisoner swap that took place in 2014. The president set up a trade of five detainees from the detention center at Guantanamo Bay in exchange for alleged Army deserter Bowe Bergdahl. The move was made as a part of the president’s plan to eventually shut down the controversial prison.
According to the House Armed Services Committee, President Obama broke the law in his failing to notify Congress about the transfer of the prisoners from the Guantanamo Bay. The committee released a report detailing this matter on Thursday.
Republican House member and the chairman of the committee Mac Thornberry said in a statement that Congress was misled about the status of the negotiations. Meanwhile, representatives from both the White House and the Obama administration have declined to comment on the matter.
On June 30, 2009, Bergdahl disappeared from an American outpost in Afghanistan. It is believed that he was deserting his fellow troops. However, from there he was captured by Taliban forces. For years, he suffered from abuse and torture at the hands of the Taliban.
Bergdahl was freed last year with the prisoner swap. The five Taliban prisoners involved in the exchange were sent from Guantanamo Bay to Qatar. Republicans in Congress were outraged by the move. Many Republicans want the prison to remain open and to continue to house terrorist threats.
President Obama views the detention center at Guantanamo Bay to be a damaging symbol of detainee abuse and detention without proper charge. The prison was originally opened by the administration of George W. Bush.
However, the president has not yet sent a plan to Congress that outlines how he will close the facility. Recently, Obama signed a landmark defense policy bill that included certain provisions that now make it even more difficult to close the prison.