Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Idaho Lawmaker Urges Politicians To Hold Off On Criticizing Bergdahl

AP Photo/Voice Of Jihad Website via AP video
In this image taken from video obtained from Voice Of Jihad Website, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl sits in a vehicle guarded by the Taliban in eastern Afghanistan.

Idaho Congressman Raúl Labrador is calling on fellow politicians to avoid "escalating the rhetoric" around Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. Labrador, a Republican, made the comments at a panel discussion hosted Tuesday in Washington, D.C. by the Heritage Foundation.

U.S. Rep. Labrador told the audience that without knowing more details, it’s too soon to criticize Bergdahl.

Some former members of Bergdahl’s unit say he deserted in June 2009. Backlash against the 28-year-old Army sergeant led his hometown of Hailey, Idaho, to cancel a welcome home celebration. And the FBI is reportedly investigating threats against Bergdahl’s parents.

Labrador says members of Congress shouldn’t add fuel to the fire.

"We should concentrate on the exchange — whether that exchange should have been done or not —and to leave the Bergdahl family alone," Labrador said.

On the issue of the exchange, Labrador has taken a somewhat different position than many fellow Republicans. He says prisoner releases are part of winding down a war. However, Labrador didn’t indicate whether he supports the exchange of five Taliban detainees for Bergdahl.

Inland Northwest Correspondent Jessica Robinson reports from the Northwest News Network's bureau in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. From the politics of wolves to mining regulation to small town gay rights movements, Jessica covers the economic, demographic and environmental trends that are shaping places east of the Cascades.