The recent exchange of five Taliban militants for the release of one US soldier has caused a row in the US Congress.
Congressional Republicans on Sunday said they wanted more answers from the Obama administration on the prisoner swap that led to the release of aTaliban-held soldier, Bowe Berghahl, warning the deal could put American lives at risk.
Republicans have described the five Guantanamo detainees, who have now been transferred to Qatar, as "high risk people" and condemned the deal as "negotiating with terrorists."
US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel later denied the allegations.
"We didn't negotiate with terrorists," He said on NBC's 'Meet the Press'. "And I said and explained before, Sergeant Bergdahl is a prisoner of war. That's a normal process in getting your prisoners back."
The republicans, however, have been resolute in their opinion that the deal has been a dangerous gamble. They also chided the White House for failing to meet a legal requirement that Congress receive advance notification when prisoners are released from the detainee facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was handed over to the US Special Forces by the Taliban on Saturday, with the government of Qatar serving as a broker. Qatar is taking custody of the five Afghan detainees who have been held in the US detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Sen John McCain, who has himself been a prisoner of war in Vietnam, voiced fears that the five prisoners, exchanged for Sgt Bergdahl, could rejoin terrorist networks and possibly plan future attacks.
"It is disturbing that these individuals would have the ability to re-enter the fight," McCain said on CBS's 'Face the Nation'. "And they are big, high-level people, possibly responsible for the deaths of thousands."
Defending the prisoner exchange, however, Hagel said that the US is dealing with terrorists and hostage taking all the time and that the deal wouldn't encourage the terrorists to take American soldiers hostage.
Army Sgt. Bergdhal was captured in eastern Afghanistan on 30 June 2009, about two months after arriving in the country.
Responding to the growing criticism on the exchange, Hagel further said that the US government was simply honoring an enduring principle of the US warfare which says 'Never leave a soldier behind on the battlefield.'
"We found an opportunity. We took that opportunity," Hagel said. "I'll stand by that decision. I signed off on the decision. The president made the ultimate decision."
The 28-year-old was released on Saturday morning, with the Taliban forces handing him over to a US Special Forces team in eastern Afghanistan. The US officials believe he was held in Pakistan by the Haqqani network, an insurgent group allied with the Taliban.
Bergdahl was the only known missing US soldier in the recent Afghan war.