Rep. Hunter slams US hostage policies as 'America in retreat'

This is a rush transcript from "The Kelly File," January 27, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MEGYN KELLY, HOST: The White House is also coming under fire over its decision to give a get out of jail early card to an admitted Al Qaeda member, reportedly for good behavior while in jail.

Now questions have surfaced over a report of a prisoner swap, something the president says we do not do when it comes to terrorists.

And our next guest is demanding answers from the administration. Congressman Duncan Hunter is a member of the House Armed Services Committee. So, Congressman, I had Jen Psaki at the State Department on the show last night, and I asked her, do we let this bad guy, al-Marri, out of prison, U.S. federal prison where we chose to treat him like a criminal instead of a terrorist, early for good behavior in the jail, as part of a swap because Qatar has some Americans we wanted. And here's what she said.


JEN PSAKI, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON: Well, there was no proposal on the table. And that's not something we would consider. This was not a case where there was a prisoner swap considered, discussed, as a part of any of these deals.


KELLY: No proposal on the table. Does that answer it for you?

REP. DUNCAN HUNTER, R-CALIF., HOUSE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE: No, absolutely not. You know, this isn't just America frozen, this is a sign that the release of al-Marri, a logistics operator, an Al Qaeda logistics operator that when an FBI buddy of ours heard about this, let's put it this way, you can't say what he said on television.

This is the guy that provides the bad guys with all the weapons they need, with the support that they need, with the money that they need. He's one of the most dangerous kinds of Al Qaeda terrorists because he supplies all the other 18-year-old Islamic terrorists with what they need to wage war.

This is America in retreat. This isn't just as you and General Keane just said America frozen. This is what you do when you're in retreat.

When you retreat back within your walls, and you try to pacify our enemies, who will never be pacified. But you try to pacify them by giving back their enemy combatants and saying, please just leave us alone. What we've done, we just put this guy back on the battlefield where all the FBI analysts, all the CIA operatives, all of the military personnel, all the people that have military over in Iraq or Afghanistan right now fighting for this country, we just said, we're going to put this guy back on the battlefield so that he can aid and abet Islamic terrorists and try to kill your son, your brother, your sister. That's what we just did.

KELLY: He behaved so well in prison, though.

HUNTER: Yes, it's funny. It's ludicrous that we would treat him like he just robbed a McDonald's and he turned to Jesus Christ in jail and we're letting him off for good behavior. Because that's not what happened. He probably turned a with the total other nutjobs in the first place.

KELLY: And how concerned are you that he may not be the last?

HUNTER: Oh, no, say that again Megyn, I'm sorry?

KELLY: I mean, how many more are there? Like al-Marri who are in U.S. prisons --

HUNTER: I don't know of any of them.

KELLY: Who might get out of jail for ridiculous reasons like this. I mean, at least have them serve out the full sentence that was already arguably a slap on the wrist.

HUNTER: I don't know of any more like him. I think he might have been the only one from what we've heard.

KELLY: Let's hope.

HUNTER: But who knows what the administration does. We don't know. They haven't been open about this.  We didn't even know he was released until the administration released him and then announced his release so that we couldn't condemn it or stop it.  Right? So now we're just left to talk about it after he's already in Qatar.

And I'll tell you this too. This was a hostage exchange. Just, you know, connect dots here.


KELLY: I know. The timing is very coincidental. But the State Department, they wouldn't be too explicit, but they said it wasn't technically a prisoner swap. I got to leave it at that, I'm out of time, we'll continue to follow Congressman, thank for being here.

HUNTER: Thank you.

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