A Democratic congressman offered a curious analogy on Monday to explain why the U.S. is dealing with the Taliban -- apparently comparing them to soldiers in the American Revolution.
According to sources, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., made the comparison during a House briefing late Monday with administration officials on the trade of Taliban members for American Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.
Nadler apparently made the point that the Taliban, as non-state actors, have a status similar to that of American soldiers who fought the British during the Revolutionary War.
This comparison, Fox News is told, was met with a lot of groaning by other lawmakers.
Nadler issued a statement on Tuesday clarifying the remarks.
Regarding the prisoners released from Guantanamo, he said: "I was told they were unprivileged combatants, not prisoners of war, and I was trying to figure out the extent of that legal distinction. I was told they wore no uniform so I was curious if that gave them the legal status of militias in the American Revolution -- who also did not wear uniforms."
He said: "In no way was I comparing their values, their efforts, and their cause to that of our founding fathers, and to suggest otherwise is absurd. Obviously, I strongly oppose everything the Taliban stands for -- from their horrendous support for terrorists and their suppression of human rights to their treatment of women and murderous hatred of America."
Several lawmakers described Monday's briefing as "rough," as the administration faced pushback from members about its handling of the controversial prisoner trade.
Some, including Nadler, defended the administration. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi also stood up at the end of the meeting and defended President Obama, sources said.
Fox News' Mike Emanuel contributed to this report.