Hagel: There is risk
The hearing has resumed, and Hagel has read from the intelligence community assessment of the risk associated with releasing the five Taliban detainees.
The assessment says, according to Hagel, that should these detainees return to the Taliban, their focus would almost certainly be on Taliban efforts inside Afghanistan, not the United States.
The assessment also says that a few new Taliban leaders, no matter how senior, will not appreciably change the threat to the Afghan people or U.S. forces, according to Hagel.
A third point from the assessment, according to Hagel: Afghanistan’s future will depend more upon Afghanistan's presidential election, how Afghan security forces perform against the Taliban over the next 18 months, and continued external donor support that will allow Kabul to fulfill civil and security functions.
"So, does that say there's no threat? No. We've never said that," Hagel said.