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January 1, 2015 10:57 am

Report: Afghan Prisoner Swap Affected Obama’s Handling of Alan Gross Case

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After being released from prison in Cuba, Alan Gross speaks on the phone with President Barack Obama during his flight back to the U.S. on Dec. 17. Photo: White House.

New York Times – Of all the tense moments in the year and a half of secret negotiations to free Alan P. Gross from Cuba, none may have matched a meeting in Ottawa early in June between a two-person White House delegation and their Cuban counterparts.

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the American soldier imprisoned for nearly five years in Afghanistan, had just been freed in return for five Taliban commanders held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. The Cuban negotiators seized on his release as a precedent that would allow a reluctant White House to agree to a swap of Mr. Gross for three Cuban agents jailed in the United States, according to a senior administration official.

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