Veterans group praises Bergdahl's release

Veterans group praises Bergdahl's release
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Members of an influential veterans group on Monday voiced their gratitude that Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl had been let go after being held captive by the Taliban for five years.

“We’re happy he’s home,” Paul Rieckhoff, founder of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, said during a Capitol Hill press conference.

“I think the important message that was sent to Sgt. Bergdahl and to all American service members is that America doesn’t leave anybody behind,” he added.

President Obama on Saturday announced that Bergdahl was to be swapped for five prisoners held at the U.S. detention facility in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. The deal has sparked outrage from Republican lawmakers, who charge the president broke the law by not informing Congress first.

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) on Monday vowed his panel would investigate the prisoner swap.

The deal has also proven controversial because Pentagon officials are still unsure of how Bergdahl came to be off his base in Afghanistan in June 2009. Soldiers who served alongside Bergdahl claim he is a deserter. 

Rieckhoff declined to comment on the political storm the prisoner exchange had created.

“We’re not going to get into the politics, and we’re definitely not going to speculate, because a lot of folks are doing that now, and they don’t know the facts,” he said.