Some Republicans are focused on the argument that the administration was negotiating with terrorists for the release of a hostage. White House press secretary Jay Carney disputed this characterization in a CNN appearance:
“The fact is he was held in an armed conflict with the Taliban,” Carney said. “We were engaged in an armed conflict with the Taliban, and we have a history in this country of making sure that our prisoners of war are returned to us.”A second major Republican procedural objection to the deal is that the Obama administration did not give Congress 30 days notice of the release of prisoners from Guantanamo Bay, as called for in the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act. Administration officials point to a signing statement the president made on the NDAA, saying that "The executive branch must have the flexibility, among other things, to act swiftly in conducting negotiations with foreign countries regarding the circumstances of detainee transfers." UN Ambassador Susan Rice said that Congress had been told in the past that a prisoner trade was possible to get Bergdahl back. And, again, they point to the imperative of Bergdahl's declining health.
“He was not a hostage, he was a prisoner,” Carney added.
Third, some soldiers who served with Bergdahl have called into question his actions leading to his capture, labeling him a deserter.
With general Republican opposition to anything President Obama does or supports, House Armed Services Committee Chair Buck McKeon promising hearings, and right-wing blogs having sunk their teeth into the portrait of Bergdahl as a deserter, this story is likely to be with us for some time.