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Hagel Pressured By Obama To Release Taliban Generals

Posted by: : Paul EbelingPosted on: January 31, 2015 Hagel Pressured By Obama To Release Taliban Generals

Hagel Pressured By Obama To Release Taliban Generals

Outgoing Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel says he was under pressure from the Obama White House to quicken the pace of releases of detainees at Guantanamo Bay.

In a startling and blunt interview with CNN correspondent Barbara Starr, aired Friday on Secretary Hagel said despite the heat, he held his ground.

“Not everyone at the White House agreed with me … on the pace of the releases,” Sec. Hagel said, adding that it did not bother him.

“Because I have the responsibility and I play my own game here,” he said. “And that is because, by law, I am the one official in government charged with certification of release of detainees. I take that responsibility very seriously.”

Pressed by Ms. Starr whether he was under pressure, Sec. Hagel replied: “We’ve had a lot of conversations.”

“With the White House?” Ms. Starr asked.

“Yes,” said Hagel. “And Congress. And the press.”

“If you are  not prepared to deal with pressure, every day, in the job you are in, coming from a lot of different directions, then you shouldn’t be in the job,” he said. “It’s just part of the process, part of any job I think.”

Still, Sec. Hagel said, he was confident the swap of 5 Taliban detainees at Gitmo in return for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl last May was the right move. “Absolutely it was the right decision. It was the right decision … because we do not leave our troops behind.”

“It was a Prisoner of War exchange and I am absolutely as committed to that decision today as when the decision was made.” he added. “It was the right decision.”

The remarks came in the wake of reports that 1 of the 5 Taliban terrorists is trying to get back onto the battlefield, making contact with suspected Taliban associates in Afghanistan. The Obama administration has quickened the pace of prisoner releases to eventually close Guantanamo.

The Obama White House said the released terrorist is not back on the battlefield.

“What I can say with confidence is this individual has not returned to the battlefield, this individual is not allowed to travel outside Qatar, and this individual has not engaged in any physical violence,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Friday.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) confirmed the freed Taliban detainees have been in touch with members of the al-Qaida-linked Haqqani network, even though all 5 are being monitored in Qatar.

The Republican Senator, who recently visited Qatar, said he is concerned that 1 of the detainees had left, but was assured during his visit all 5 senior Taliban officials remain in the Gulf nation on the Arabian Peninsula. He went on to say that  the swap was a “dangerous decision.”

“The likelihood of these 5 going back to the battle is almost as certain as the sun rising in the east and setting in the west,” Graham declared, however, adding “the leaders of the Taliban, collaborated with al-Qaida to plan attacks on our homeland and President Barack Obama is looking for any reason he can find to release people from Guantanamo Bay to fulfill his campaign promise to close the place.

“I think it is unjustified and frankly, it is going to come back to haunt us.”

Have a terrific weekend.


Paul Ebeling

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Paul Ebeling

Pattern Recognition Analyst, equities, commodities, forex
Paul Ebeling is best known for his work as writer and publisher of “The Red Roadmaster’s Technical Report” on the US Major Market Indices™, a highly-regarded, weekly financial market letter, where he enjoys an international audience among opinion makers, business leaders, and respected organizations. Something of a pioneer in online stock market and commodities discussion and analysis, Ebeling has been online since 1994. He has studied and worked in the global financial and stock markets since 1984.

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