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By CNN chief Washington correspondent Jake Tapper
(CNN) – Among the many points of controversy to emerge following the swap of five Taliban prisoners for U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is the question of whether the five mid- to high-level Taliban fighters will return to the battlefield.
It's really no secret that according to the administration these five - two of whom are wanted by the UN for possible war crimes, including the murder of thousands of Shiites - very well may return to the battlefield.
President Barack Obama himself has admitted that they might pose a future threat.
"Is there the possibility of some of them trying to return to activities that are detrimental to us? Absolutely. That's been true of all the prisoners that were released from Guantanamo. There's a certain recidivism rate that takes place," Obama said.
The threat of recidivism, returning to battle, is not new. Nine years ago this month, Vice President Dick Cheney acknowledged that threat was very real.
"If you were to release those 520 that are currently held at Guantanamo that have been deemed to be enemy combatants, we're putting a lot of bad guys back on the street to do exactly what they started to do in the first place," Cheney said in June, 2005.
In fact, by the time Obama took office, according to a report from the office of the director of National Intelligence last year, the Bush-Cheney administration had released 171 detainees, either confirmed or suspected of having returned to the battlefield.
These include, according to the Defense Intelligence Agency, Ibrahim Sen, who was later arrested in Turkey charged as the leader of an active al Qaeda cell, and Abdullah Mahsud, whom Pakistan government officials accuse of directing a suicide attack in April 2007 that killed 31 people.
Under the Obama administration, which claims to have a more thorough vetting process for releasing detainees, seven were confirmed or suspected of having returned to the battle as of last September.
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The Lead with Jake Tapper draws not only on Tapper’s deep knowledge of politics and national issues, but also seeks to examine and advance stories across a wide range of topics that demonstrate his own curiosities and interests. Compelling headlines come from around the country and the globe, from politics to money, sports to popular culture, based on news drivers of the day.
The Lead with Jake Tapper airs weekdays at 4 p.m. ET.
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