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Gillibrand, Tonko Raise Concerns with U.S. Soldier's Release

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Albany/HV: Federal Lawmakers Raising Concerns with U.S. Soldier's Release
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Standing in the Rose Garden of the White House Saturday, President Barack Obama announced Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is a free man.

Bergdahl had been held captive by the Taliban for five years, after going missing in 2009.

As of Monday, Bergdahl was in a German hospital where he began the recovery process. Federal officials said Bergdahl is in stable condition and he has lost a lot of weight.

However, his release is causing some to question the process of his release.

The White House said Bergdahl was set free in exchange for five detainees who were being held at Guantanamo Bay.

The word spread fast among representatives in Washington, D.C.

"I'm grateful to bring one of ours home, but I do have concerns," said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y. "This is a very serious issue and what we know of these of these Taliban leaders is they're quite senior."

Gillibrand is a member of the U.S. Senate's Armed Services Committee. She said the committee should of been notified that a deal was being made, but it wasn't.

"No notice to this. We were aware there were discussions but normally you would be actually notified before a prisoner exchange or this kind of high level negotiation," Gillibrand said.

The Obama administration said Bergdahl's health was deteriorating and they acted quickly to save his life.

Gillibrand, who said exchanges like these have happened in past conflicts, hopes this one doesn't hurt the U.S.

"Obviously we want to make sure that our men and women that are serving abroad are safe and are not being targeted as perhaps future hostages," she said.

Ironically, just days before the news of Bergdahl's release was made public, a chair of honor was dedicated partly in his honor at the Times Union Center in Albany.

The chair honors the more than 91,000 U.S. servicemembers who are unaccounted for since World War I. The chair now sits empty overlooking the arena.

With one less prisoner of war unaccounted for, lawmakers are still searching for answers.

"I think it's important to know exactly how it happened so that it will be instructive as we go forward and I believe as we get that information it will serve very useful," Rep. Paul Tonko, D-Amsterdam, said.

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