Sen. King: Release Bergdahl video to public
By Mario Trujillo - 06/05/14 07:58 AM EDT
Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) on Thursday called on the administration to publicly release a short video showing the deteriorating conditon of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl recorded by the Taliban.
King said a "dead silence" came over a briefing for senators Wednesday night when they were shown the short clip of the soldier who was released recently after five years in captivity.
"He looked terrible," King said on CNN's "New Day." "And I think that video should be released at some point. He could barely talk. He couldn't focus his eyes. He was downcast. He was thin … I looked around the room as that video was shown, and I think it was clearly effective."
The Obama administration briefed members of the Senate on Wednesday night on the exchange of five Taliban prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay for the release of the U.S. soldier. The video was apparently shown to prove the Bergdahl’s diminishing health required the president to act quickly.
King said he is still convinced the administration erred by not giving 30-days notice to Congress about the release of Guantanamo prisoners, as required by law.
He said the overall exchange was a hard call.
"The administration made a very difficult decision," he said. "I'm not sure I would have made the same decision. I am little uncomfortable sitting up here and saying we would have done it differently."
However, he noted that Congress "is an outfit that can't decide its way out of a wet paper bag."
Many other members remained unconvinced that the immediate exchange was necessary due to Bergdahl's apparent diminishing health.
Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) said Bergdahl appeared to be drugged while filmed five months ago in the video shot by the Taliban in order to prove to the United States that he was still alive.
Chambliss, the ranking member of the Intelligence Committee, said there was "no indication" in the video that the soldier had any health issues.
"He didn't look good, but that is not enough to tell me he is in immanent health danger from a health standpoint," he said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."