There was urgency to get Bergdahl released: US

The US has said there was a greater sense of urgency to get Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl released from Taliban`s captivity as a "proof of life video" received by it in January showed that his life was at risk.

PTI| Last Updated: Jun 06, 2014, 11:52 AM IST

Washington: The US has said there was a greater sense of urgency to get Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl released from Taliban`s captivity as a "proof of life video" received by it in January showed that his life was at risk.

"Our judgement was that every day Sgt Bergdahl was a prisoner his life was at risk, and in the video we received in January, he did not look well. This led to an even greater sense of urgency in pursuing his recovery," a senior administration official said yesterday.

Earlier, senior officials of the Obama Administration briefed Senators in a classified meeting, setting the circumstances that lead to the release of Sgt Bergdahl in lieu of exchange of five Taliban prisoners from the Guantanamo Bay terrorist detention center.

"We can`t disclose classified comments from a closed congressional briefing. However, we are able to say that the Senators were told, separate and apart from Sgt Bergdahl`s apparent deterioration in health, that we had both specific and general indications that Sgt Bergdahl `s recovery -- and potentially his life -- could be jeopardised if the detainee exchange proceedings were disclosed or derailed," said the senior administration official on condition of anonymity.

State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf, told reporters that there were a number of reasons in that video to believe that his health was declining.

"In terms of physical security, once we had in place the agreement through the Qataris about how this could proceed, there were real concerns that if this were made public first, his physical security could be in danger more by either the Taliban walking away or about an individual Taliban member who perhaps was guarding him," Harf said.

"So as we needed to move quickly, all of these factors played into that," she said defending the quick decision taken by the Obama Administration with regard to the prisoners swap.

Meanwhile, Senator Ben Cardin, a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, urged US President Barack Obama to move swiftly to declassify as much information on the details of Bergdahl`s release as possible.

"I urge President Obama to move quickly to declassify as much material as possible to help all of us gain a better understanding of Sgt Bergdahl`s capture and recent release, and the circumstances concerning the detainees who were transferred to Qatar," Cardin said. PTI