Wednesday, June 20, 2018
News Roundup

Obama says some ex-Taliban prisoners may resume fighting

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama said Friday that the controversial prisoner swap that freed Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl from five years of captivity in Afghanistan is "something that I would do again."

"We have released, both under my administration and previous administrations, a large number of former Taliban fighters, some of whom will return to the battlefield," he said. "But by definition, you don't do prisoner exchanges with your friends, you do them with your enemies."

He said that other tough choices lie ahead as the United States extricates its forces from Afghanistan over the next two years.

"It's important for us to recognize that the transition process of ending a war is going to involve, on occasion, releasing folks who we may not trust but we can't convict," Obama said in an interview with NBC News anchor Brian Williams.

"And I've been very clear about the fact that over time, we're going to have to whittle away at the number of prisoners who were in Guantanamo as part of this transition out of the war in Afghanistan."

About 150 detainees remain in the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, most for more than a dozen years. None has been brought to trial. The facility, set up after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, held more than 750 detainees at one point.

The interview was the first time Obama has described the prisoner exchange in the context of his repeated vows to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay.

Congress has made that impossible so far, and anger welled up this week because Obama didn't consult Congress before transferring the five Taliban members to Qatar on May 31 as part of the swap for Bergdahl.

Under international law, countries typically release or repatriate prisoners of war at the end of hostilities.

"It's a specific circumstance involving a U.S. service member who we needed to get back," Obama said in the interview. "The point I'm making, though, that there are a number of individuals who've been released in the past in Guantanamo who are not the kind of people that you and I would consider friends of the United States of America.

"But by definition, if we, in fact, are ending a war, then there's going to be a process in which some of those individuals are going to be released."

Obama did the interview while traveling in Europe.

Comments
Florida State will host Florida Gators to open this basketball season

Florida State will host Florida Gators to open this basketball season

For the first time in almost two decades, Florida and Florida State will open the men's basketball season against each other.The Seminoles will host UF on Nov. 6, both programs announced Wednesday morning. FSU has won four in a row in the series."Any...
Updated: 10 minutes ago
Kevin Knox poised to become Tampa Bay’s highest NBA draft pick

Kevin Knox poised to become Tampa Bay’s highest NBA draft pick

Kevin Knox Sr. was watching the NFL draft 24 years ago when the phone rang. Buffalo coach Marv Levy was on the other line."Marv said they were taking me," said Knox Sr., a standout receiver at FSU.Soon after, Knox Sr. saw his name scroll across ESPN'...
Updated: 16 minutes ago
Citizens considers hiking homeowners insurance rates about 8 percent

Citizens considers hiking homeowners insurance rates about 8 percent

Citizens Property Insurance Corp.’s is weighing another round of hefty rate hikes.Staffers with the state-run insurer of last resort have proposed raising the average rates for homeowners by 7.9 percent — just under the legislative cap of 10 percent ...
Updated: 25 minutes ago
A tight supply cuts into Tampa Bay homes sales while prices keep rising

A tight supply cuts into Tampa Bay homes sales while prices keep rising

Tampa Bay’s two largest counties showed anemic home sales in May as prices continued to rise due to a tight supply.In Pinellas, sales of single-family home plunged nearly 12 percent from the previous May, the second-worst showing in a year. Prices, t...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Five guns taken in 30 reported break-ins of unlocked cars in Clearwater

Five guns taken in 30 reported break-ins of unlocked cars in Clearwater

CLEARWATER — Thieves have made off with at least five guns after breaking into unlocked vehicles in recent days, police said Wednesday morning.Over the past three days, a group of people have been breaking into unlocked vehicles across the city. Clea...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Safety Harbor is no safe haven from cyberbullying

Safety Harbor is no safe haven from cyberbullying

SAFETY HARBOR — Mayor Joe Ayoub put forth a resolution Monday evening asking the City Commission to condemn cyberbullying.The result? The meeting devolved into shouting and whispering from the crowd and people storming out of chambers.The mayor’s res...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Pasco Sheriff: Hudson man faces sexual battery charges

Pasco Sheriff: Hudson man faces sexual battery charges

HUDSON — A 33-year-old man is facing charges of sexual battery and rape after Pasco County Sheriff’s deputies said he assaulted a 14-year-old girl.Christopher Hall, who was 31 at the time of the incident, forced the victim into a bathroom, took off h...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Kevin Kiermaier returns to the Rays

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Kevin Kiermaier returns to the Rays

Times sports columnist Tom Jones joins Rick Stroud to discuss Kevin Kiermaier's return to the Rays, whether Victor Hedman should win the Norris Trophy for the NHL's best defenseman, Bucs expectations for this season and Barry Trotz's next c...
Updated: 1 hour ago
SB traffic on I-275 slowed in St. Petersburg after car jumps median

SB traffic on I-275 slowed in St. Petersburg after car jumps median

ST. PETERSBURG — A car that is straddling the center concrete barrier is causing a visual slowdown Wednesday morning on Interstate 275.The incident occurred sometime around 7:30 a.m.The passenger side of the car can be seen hanging along the median o...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Passenger in Bayshore crash that killed mother and toddler pleads not guilty

Passenger in Bayshore crash that killed mother and toddler pleads not guilty

TAMPA — Tristan Herrin, a passenger in the speeding black Mustang that struck and killed a woman and her young daughter last month as they tried to cross Bayshore Boulevard, renewed his not guilty plea Wednesday to a misdemeanor street racing charge....
Updated: 1 hour ago