Hagel, Rice praise Bergdahl recovery mission, defend not telling Congress

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Top Obama administration officials on Sunday praised the diplomatic and military efforts to recover Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, a prisoner of war in Afghanistan, saying it was an “extraordinary” and “life-saving” mission while disagreeing with the arguments that officials negotiated with terrorists and failed to inform Congress.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and National Security Adviser Susan Rice made their comments roughly 24 hours after Americans learned that Bergdahl was recovered in exchange for the release of five Taliban detainees at the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Roughly 18 Taliban members turned over Bergdahl, held captive for five years, to a Navy SEAL team near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border at about 10:30 a.m. eastern time.

The 28-year-old Bergdahl, an Idaho native, was the only American prisoner of war in Afghanistan.

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