Republicans fume over ex-Gitmo inmate’s Taliban outreach, WH says no regrets

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from FoxNews,

Outraged Republicans pointed to claims that one of five former Guantanamo prisoners traded for American Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl tried to contact the Taliban as further evidence that the Obama administration made a “bad deal.”

The White House and Pentagon, once again, on Friday defended the terms of that trade and insisted that all five former detainees are in Qatar and accounted for — and have not returned to the battlefield.

Asked if the Obama administration has any regrets over the Bergdahl-Taliban trade, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said: “Of course not.” He said they made the swap last year based on the principle that nobody in uniform “is left behind.”

But Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., in an interview with Fox News, raised concerns that the five freed fighters might indeed be planning to return to the battlefield in the coming months, particularly after strict monitoring in Qatar is over.

“What happens then?” Ayotte asked. “Never mind that they’re already attempting to re-engage and obviously making communications to do so.”

She said: “I think this was a bad deal.”

The senator pushed anew for legislation she has crafted that would suspend transfers of detainees assessed to be high- or medium-risk.

On Thursday, a U.S. official confirmed to Fox News that one of the five Taliban prisoners traded last year for Bergdahl had been intercepted making phone calls to the Taliban. Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby went further Friday, saying “at least one” was involved in “potential re-engagement.”

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