(CNN) - The release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl went from a celebration at the White House to a heated debate across the country within days of his freedom.
Soldiers expressed anger, saying Bergdahl was a deserter. Politicians are furious at how the trade to free him happened.
A closed door Senate briefing on the prisoner swap that brought him home was intended to give the Obama Administration's critics answers, but it did not appear to win them over.
"The exchange of five hardcore, hardest of the hardcore, al Qaeda slash Taliban will pose a threat to the United States of America and the men and women who are serving," said Sen. John McCain, R-AZ.
The meeting took place in the wake of a propaganda video released on the Taliban's website, showing the prisoner exchange. Senators emerging from the briefing with the president said their focus was on another recording - a so-called "proof of life" showing Bergdahl in captivity.
In the classified video, the Army soldier appeared gaunt and had difficulty speaking.
U.S. officials said the video showed a marked deterioration in his health compared to previous videos. The administration cited those health concerns as the reason for acting quickly to recover him.
Republicans and Democrats, including Sen. Joe Manchin, D-WV; said it looked like Bergdahl was drugged and questioned whether it was enough to justify the prisoner swap.
"That did not sell me at all," Manchin said. "He was not in that type of dire situation when he was released."
Some Republicans who criticized the president have said the administration should lift the restriction on the proof of life video.
"Every American should see the video," said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC. "This is something that we need to put out in the open. You need to look at the video and judge for yourself."
Gen. Stanley McChrystal (Ret.), the former U.S. commander in Afghanistan, weighed in during an interview with Yahoo News.
"Well we don't leave Americans behind. That's unequivocal," he said. "Now there will be a lot of discussion on whether the mechanism for getting Sgt. Bergdahl back was right, and I'll leave it to people to argue that."
Copyright 2014 CNN. KMVT, IntelCenter and Yahoo News contributed to the report. All rights reserved.
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