Bergdahl’s Release Has Politicians Divided On Capitol Hill

WASHINGTON (WJZ) — The wait is over. After five years, Bowe Bergdahl–an American soldier held in captivity by the Taliban–is returning home to the United States. But his welcome home comes with mixed feelings.

Rochelle Ritchie reports Bergdahl’s release still has politicians in a heated debate.

The release of Bowe Bergdahl certainly has people divided. Some call him a hero, others call him a traitor. One congressman who spoke with WJZ says Americans should not rush to judgment.

It’s a trade that has politicians divided, and the president defending his decision.

“We saw an opportunity and we seized it,” President Obama said.

The debate surrounds Bowe Bergdahl, an American soldier who went missing from his platoon in Afghanistan five years ago. Now he is on his way home after the government exchanged five highly ranked Taliban officials for his release.

“It really puts us at risk,” said Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger.

On Capitol Hill, Ruppersberger, a member of the Intelligence Committee, says Bergdahl should be home.

“I’m sure that Bergdahl and his family are very happy that he is safe and back home,” said Ruppersberger.

But he doesn’t think the trade of Taliban leaders sends the right global message.

“It shows that we now might negotiate and trade prisoners one way or another before a war is over,” Ruppersberger said.

Bergdahl’s fellow soldiers who served with him in Afghanistan have come forward condemning him and blaming him for the deaths of six soldiers who went looking for him after they say he walked away on his own.

“He left his weapon. He took water with him, a notepad,” soldier Kenneth Wortham said.

In an exclusive interview with WJZ, Kenneth Wortham of Baltimore says Bergdahl is no hero.

“He’s a traitor and a deserter,” said Wortham.

Ritchie: “We had Kenneth Wortham on WJZ and he called Bergdahl a traitor. Do you agree with that statement?”

Ruppersberger: “No. I think we have to hold judgment until we get the facts.”

Bergdahl’s release may be a relief for his family, but Ruppersberger says it could put our men and women in uniform at a higher risk.

“There could be more kidnappings where more members of the military might be brought in and then used as a leverage with us,” he said.

The intelligence committee is looking into whether or not the deaths of six soldiers are related to the search for Bergdahl.

There is no word on the exact time Bergdahl will be home. There are still many prisoners of war who remain in captivity.

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