President Barack Obama has said at a press conference in Brussels he makes “no apologies” for the deal that freed American POW Bowe Bergdahl.
The US leader said: “We have a basic principle we don’t leave anybody wearing the American uniform behind.
“We had a prisoner of war whose health had deteriorated and we were deeply concerned about it and we saw an opportunity and we seized it. And I make no apologies for that.
“We had discussed with Congress the possibility that something like this might occur, but because of the nature of the folks we were dealing with and the fragile nature of these negotiations we felt it was important to go ahead and do what we did.”
Obama administration officials have been scrambling to defuse a political row over the deal that exchanged Army Sgt Bowe Bergdahl for five Taliban inmates at Guantanamo Bay.
The president, however, said the bipartisan backlash back home was not unexpected.
“I’m never surprised by controversies that are whipped up in Washington,” he told reporters. “That’s par for the course.”
“This is not political football,” he added… see more