BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan (AP) — U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says the military operation to free Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl (boh BURG'-dahl) from the Taliban was not relayed to Congress because officials believed the soldier's life was in danger.

In his first extensive public comments about the Saturday operation, Hagel says the information the U.S. had gathered suggested that Bergdahl's safety and health were in jeopardy and his health was deteriorating.

Taliban members handed Bergdahl over to special operations forces in eastern Afghanistan, and later in the day the detainees were flown from Guantanamo to Qatar.

The Pentagon didn't give Congress the required 30-day notice for the release of detainees from the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention center and two Republican lawmakers complained.

Hagel says the military had to move quickly to get Bergdahl out "essentially to save his life."

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