'We were told by the Qataris that a leak, any kind of leak, would end the negotiation for Bergdahl's release,' Hagel stressed, addressing legislators' concerns about the secrecy the swap.
Hagel told the committee he would share with them during closed session specific details about the security warnings they received.
We believed this was 'our last, best opportunity,' to free him, the defense secretary said during his opening remarks.
'I supported it, I stand by it,' Hagel said of the deal that released five Taliban detainees in exchange for Bergdahl.
America does not leave one of its own behind.
'We made the right decision. And we did it for the right reasons," Hagel told members of the committee.
Members of the committee seem to be stuck on the fact that members of Congress were not informed of the deal prior to it happening.
While Rep. Langevin expressed gratitude that Bergdahl has been freed, he said it raises concerns, asking whether it will increase incentives for Taliban operatives capture Americans.
'War is a dangerous business," Hagel said, adding that a soldier is 'always, always at risk.' He said the Taliban has long-standing orders to capture American soldiers.
However, now that America has its last soldier back, that gives the country more flexibility to free up resources on the ground, Hagel said.
Would we put American lives at risk to go after them if they rejoined the fight, Hagel was asked about the released Taliban detainees.
After multiple attempts to try and find a way to answer that question, a clearly frustrated Hagel simply said yes.
Rep. Miller asked, somewhat incredulously, if Bergdahl was being held in Germany because of the extent of his injuries.
I hope you're not implying something else, Hagel fired back.