The Obama administration is pushing back as frustrated senators question the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.
Bergdahl could have been killed if word of the prisoner swap with the Taliban had leaked, a senior administration official told reporters, responding to lawmakers upset that President Barack Obama did not follow the law and notify Congress 30 days in advance.
“Our judgment was that every day Sgt. Bergdahl was a prisoner his life was at risk, and in the video we received in January, he did not look well," the official wrote in a statement.
"This led to an even greater sense of urgency in pursuing his recovery. We can’t disclose classified comments from a closed congressional briefing. However, we are able to say that the Senators were told, separate and apart from Sgt. Bergdahl’s apparent deterioration in health, that we had both specific and general indications that Sgt. Bergdahl 's recovery — and potentially his life — could be jeopardized if the detainee exchange proceedings were disclosed or derailed."
Earlier, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., dismissed the controversy over the lack of notification on the Bergdahl swap as "a big deal over nothing." Obama also said he would "make no apologies " for the deal.