WASHINGTON, DC – Senator Pat Roberts, the most Senior Marine in the Congress, today released the following statement regarding the exchange of five terrorists released from Guantanamo Bay for the release of U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl:
“This week, we were met with news of the return of America’s last missing/captured soldier in Afghanistan, Sgt. Bergdahl, who was exchanged for the release of five detainees from Guantanamo Bay. I strongly believe in the bond that makes our military force the greatest in the world, the ethos of never leaving a soldier behind. For the past 21 months, I have had deep concerns that this bond was broken by this president and his handling of the Benghazi terrorist attacks.
“If the Administration has had a true change of heart in its belief in the leave no man behind creed, it begs the question, why did this President ignore the law, circumvent Congress, and proceed on his own agenda without any oversight or approval in regard to the exchange for Sgt. Bergdahl?
“Clearly, this President is no stranger to ignoring the will of Congress, but it is time he understood that the Constitution ensured a special balance between the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branches to ensure tyranny never ruled America again.
“The release of these five prisoners is yet another example of the Obama Administration’s failed foreign policy. This is the President’s latest attempt to close Guantanamo Bay, something I have opposed from the start when he attempted to move terrorists to Leavenworth, Kansas. Two of the detainees have been accused of wartime atrocities including massacres, and we are supposed to believe we will not see them on the battlefield again?
“Last night, I attended a Classified Briefing held by the Administration. Unfortunately, I exited that briefing as frustrated as I entered. There were no comments made that haven’t been made in the press, nothing enlightening or forthcoming.
“The President’s National Security Council ‘B’ team continues to tell us that their number one commitment was to never, under any circumstances, leave a man behind. This is clearly false, given what happened in Benghazi.
“The Administration refused to answer why they negotiated to the terrorists’ demands, providing five of their most valued detainees while we still have troops on the ground for at least another year. They also failed to explain how they had time to plan a White House Rose Garden Press Conference, but not time to notify Members of Congress – as required by law. This issue is far from over and I promise to provide timely updates and answers as we have them from the Administration.”
Senator Roberts is a former Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence where he fought for a change in status of Captain Michael Scott Speicher, a Persian Gulf War Navy Pilot who was first declared KIA and then Missing Captured. Roberts led the call to determine his whereabouts. 18 years later, in August of 2009, the remains of Captain Speicher were discovered in the deserts of Iraq where Bedouins had buried him following the crash of his plane. Senator Roberts ensured Speicher was not left behind and his final resting place is in Jacksonville, Florida.