Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) on Sunday asserted that the five Taliban members traded for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was being held prison of war, were “hardcore military jihadists who are responsible for 9/11″ and should have been detained indefinitely at Guantanamo Bay or some other U.S. prison.
“First of all, I wouldn’t release these men,” McCain told CNN host Candy Crowley.
“Ever?” Crowley wondered.
“Not these men,” McCain insisted. “They were judged time after time during their confinement in Guantanamo, they were evaluated and judged as too great a risk to release. That was the judgement made.”
The Arizona Republican argued that Bergdahl knew when he joined the military that he was taking “certain risks, and among those risks are wounding, death, imprisonment. That’s why we cherish and love all of those men and women who serve so much.”
Crowley pointed out McCain had supported a prisoner exchange with the Taliban to save Bergdahl earlier this year.
McCain, however, insisted that the president had chosen the wrong prisoners, but refused to say exactly which detainees he would have selected.
“First of all, we’re not sending everybody home,” he chuckled. “We are going to send them — even if we close Guantanamo — we are going to send them to facilities inside the United States of America, that’s been the plan all along.”
“Second of all, I believe we should keep these people because they are hardcore jihadists who are responsible for 9/11,” McCain continued. “Of course, nobody wants to release people who are responsible for 9/11, and these people that are released that were Taliban governing worked hand-in-glove with al Qaeda.”
Retired Air Force Col. Morris Davis, who was the former top prosecutor at Guantanamo Bay, told MSNBC on Saturday that the prisoners released in exchanged for Bergdahl were so inconsequential that he did not even know who they were.
“My role as chief prosecutor was to review the information we had on the detainees to determine which ones we could potentially bring war crimes charges against,” Davis recalled. “When I saw the names of the five individuals, when they were reported last weekend, my first reaction was, ‘Who are they?’”
“I never saw the names before, which means there was not enough information to even make it on our list of potential prosecution,” he explained. “To trade five of them for a U.S. service member, in my estimation, and I’m often critical of President [Barack] Obama, I think they struck a pretty good deal.”
Watch the video below from CNN’s State of the Union, broadcast June 8, 2014.
(h/t: The Hill)