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U.S. Reps: Bergdahl Prisoner Swap Should End Releases From Guantanamo

WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork) — Following the controversial Taliban prisoner swap, members of Congress on Monday were questioning whether other prisoners should be released from Guantanamo.

Meanwhile, as CBS 2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported, new revelations in the case of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl were not gaining much sympathy on Capitol Hill Monday. It was revealed that he twice tried to escape, and each time was locked inside a cage-like room as punishment.

But some members of Congress said the controversial swap for five Taliban reputed terrorists should stop the release of others from Guantanamo Bay.

“These are very, very desperate, evil men that are down there. To have any kind of wholesale unloading of prisoners or detainees from Guantanamo – no, absolutely not,” said U.S. Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.)

There are currently 149 men being held at Guantanamo. A total of 71 have already been cleared for release as part of President Barack Obama’s desire to close the prison.

But the furor over Bergdahl might make that plan more difficult.

“If (Obama) has any sense at all, both the political sense and the sense of fairness to the American people and to the Congress, he will not be releasing any more detainees,” King said. “So far, over 30 percent of those who have been released have come back to fight against Americans.”

Even fellow Democrats have been questioning Obama’s decision to swap Bergdahl, who some have claimed was a deserter. But others said it was the right decision.

“We can debate in the future what led to his separation from his fellow soldiers, but it’s good that he’s back, because that’s what Americans do. We bring those left on the battlefield home,” said U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.)

Sources have now said Bergdahl claims he was tortured in captivity, but even those claims have been questioned because the debriefings have not been shared with Congress.

“I think this whole sort of deal has been one that the administration has kept very close, and in the eyes of many, too close,” said U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)

“We weren’t there. We have nobody on the inside, so we don’t know exactly what happened in his life over the last several years,” said U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.)

While President Obama is a lame duck, the midterm elections are coming up, and pundits said this is an issue that could resonate with voters.

It would take just six seats for the U.S. Senate to switch from Democratic to Republican control.

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