Area lawmakers weigh in on Sgt. Bergdahl exchange

This undated image provided by the U.S. Army shows Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. (AP Photo/U.S. Army, File)
This undated image provided by the U.S. Army shows Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. (AP Photo/U.S. Army, File)

GREEN BAY - Speaking in Green Bay, Republican Rep. Reid Ribble says the exchange for Sgt. Bowe Berghdal should have been handled much differently.

“I don't particularly agree with putting a number, in essence a value, on any American citizen for a terrorist group to now make a trade,” said Ribble, who represents Wisconsin’s 8th district.

Republican Sen. Ron Johnson sent FOX 11 a statement saying, “We also should be concerned about the release of high level, and highly dangerous, terrorist members of the Taliban.”

The White House says the exchange for Bergdhal might have been the only option.

“As we said very publicly, we've been talking for a long time about a potential prisoner swap and what that might look like,” said Marie Harf, State Department deputy spokesperson. “I'm sure we looked at a range of options, but, again, I will refer to General Dempsey's comment that this was the best opportunity to get him home.”

Ribble says the White House could have waited on a deal until the troop draw down set for the end of the year. He also says President Obama broke the law by not notifying congress of the exchange.

“The president didn't follow it and the president had to notify the Congress 30 days in advance and that's how it should have been handled,” said Ribble.

Republican Rep. Tom Petri issued a statement saying, “The circumstances of his capture and the precedent for the future that was set in his release are topics that Congress will likely be examining in the coming weeks.”

The White House said time was a factor.

“What's been important to us throughout this whole process is his health and safety, which, as you know, is why we had to move very quickly,” said Harf.

As for Bergdahl possibly deserting his country, both sides say they believe he will be dealt with appropriately if that is determined to be the case.

FOX 11 wanted to know how Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin felt about the Bergdahl exchange. However, someone from her office told us she was booked today. No one returned our request for a statement on the issue.