Hagel: Bergdahl's Life Was at Risk, So We Moved

Defense chief meets with special forces team that helped rescue
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 1, 2014 7:00 AM CDT
Hagel: Bergdahl's Life Was at Risk, So We Moved
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel speaking to members of the media during his flight, Sunday, June 1, 2014.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, Pool)

Bowe Bergdahl's "safety and health were both in jeopardy, and in particular his health was deteriorating," says Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who is on the ground in Afghanistan this morning dealing with the aftermath of yesterday's rescue of the Army sergeant held captive for five years by the Taliban. He said the White House and military acted quickly and unilaterally—without giving Congress 30-day notice on the release of detainees—to "essentially save his life." The deal was unanimous among the National Security Council, he said, as per the AP, and the president had the authority to order the release under the Constitution's Article 2. "The timing was right," he said. "The pieces came together." Bergdahl is currently being treated at a military hospital in Germany.

Hagel also met at Bagram Air Force Base with the special forces who took part in the operation, and though the AP is slightly fuzzy on the details of the quiet meeting, he reportedly thanked them for embodying the spirit of refusing to leave a comrade behind. Click for more on Bergdahl's rescue. (More Chuck Hagel stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.