The dispute over the Obama administration's decision not to notify Congress about the Taliban prisoner swap hinges in large part on the days before the exchange was finalized.
In a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Wednesday, Chairman Buck McKeon grilled Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel about the timeline of the swap in which Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was traded for five high-ranking Taliban detainees held at Guantanamo Bay.
"After the exchange was set in motion, only 96 hours passed before Sergeant Bergdahl was in our hands," Hagel told the committee. "Throughout this period, there was great uncertainty about whether the deal would go forward."
Hagel said defense officials checked in with the Justice Department about the legality of the swap before it happened. Both departments decided it was indeed legal, a decision that some have disputed since news of the swap broke.
Stephen Preston, the Defense Department's general counsel, said he could not give the committee the specific time that officials consulted with the Justice Department about the swap's legality. He did say that defense officials received the legal green light for the exchange before the swap agreement was finalized with Qatari officials.