zabelin/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The year-long travel ban against the five Taliban detainees freed in exchange for the release of Sgt. Bowe Berghdal is set to expire on Monday, prompting critics of the controversial prisoner swap to voice security concerns and ask if the Obama administration is seeking to extend that travel moratorium.

The White House and the State Department have both said this week that there is nothing new to announce about travel restrictions on the former Taliban leaders, who had been at Guantanamo Bay for nearly 12 years before being transferred to the Qataris in May 2014.

Bergdahl, who was the U.S. military’s only prisoner of war in Afghanistan, was charged with desertion nearly a year after President Obama announced his release. Bergdahl was heavily criticized by his former comrades for endangering the lives of those who searched for him and they blamed him for the administration’s decision to the release of five high-value Taliban prisoners.

The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, released a statement Thursday expressing his desire for the administration to extend the travel ban.

“Unless something changes, those terrorists will be free to return to the fight on Sunday,” Thornberry said. “News reports suggest their activities since they left Gitmo are already a cause for concern.”

Three of the former detainees attempted to make contact with active members of the Taliban while under supervision of the Qataris, U.S. officials confirmed to ABC News earlier this year.

Thornberry called those reports “cause for concern” and said the release of these former detainees (many of whom are considered too old to actually pick up arms) “will endanger our troops abroad and our families at home.”

The House Intelligence Committee also sent a letter last week to President Obama requesting the administration work with the Qataris to extend that travel ban.

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Photo By Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) — The Justice Department has charged former House Speaker Dennis Hastert with lying to FBI agents and trying to hide financial transactions intended to keep prior misconduct secret, prosecutors alleged Thursday.

The 73-year-old Hastert, a top Republican on Capitol Hill before he left Congress in 2007, agreed five years ago to pay an unidentified person $3.5 million “to compensate for and conceal” prior “misconduct against” that person, according to prosecutors.

Over the next four years, Hastert withdrew about $1.7 million in cash from various bank accounts and provided that money to the unidentified person, according to the Justice Department.

Starting in July 2012, Hastert allegedly structured those cash withdrawals in such a way that it would prevent banks from having to report the transactions. Under federal law, banks are required to report cash transactions over $10,000. Hastert allegedly withdrew $952,000 in increments of under that $10,000 limit.

When the FBI questioned Hastert in December 2014 about the transactions, he allegedly told the FBI that he was keeping the cash for himself, prosecutors said.

A grand jury indicted Hastert with one count of structuring currency transactions to evade currency transaction reports and one count of making a false statement to the FBI.

Hastert, of Plano, Illinois, will be arraigned in the coming days.

If convicted on both counts, he faces as many as 10 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.

The Justice Department insisted that, like all defendants, Hastert is “presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial.”

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Photo By Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) — The Justice Department has charged former House Speaker Dennis Hastert with lying to FBI agents and trying to hide financial transactions intended to keep prior misconduct secret, prosecutors alleged Thursday.

The 73-year-old Hastert, a top Republican on Capitol Hill before he left Congress in 2007, agreed five years ago to pay an unidentified person $3.5 million “to compensate for and conceal” prior “misconduct against” that person, according to prosecutors.

Over the next four years, Hastert withdrew about $1.7 million in cash from various bank accounts and provided that money to the unidentified person, according to the Justice Department.

Starting in July 2012, Hastert allegedly structured those cash withdrawals in such a way that it would prevent banks from having to report the transactions. Under federal law, banks are required to report cash transactions over $10,000. Hastert allegedly withdrew $952,000 in increments of under that $10,000 limit.

When the FBI questioned Hastert in December 2014 about the transactions, he allegedly told the FBI that he was keeping the cash for himself, prosecutors said.

A grand jury indicted Hastert with one count of structuring currency transactions to evade currency transaction reports and one count of making a false statement to the FBI.

Hastert, of Plano, Illinois, will be arraigned in the coming days.

If convicted on both counts, he faces as many as 10 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.

The Justice Department insisted that, like all defendants, Hastert is “presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial.”

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NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — President Obama engaged his Twitter followers on Thursday to answer questions on climate change, but it was his tweets about the NBA Finals and a presidential flub that stole the spotlight.

The president opened the Twitter Q&A — using his new Twitter account, @POTUS — by inviting people to ask questions using the hashtag #AskObama.

The first question the president fielded was a softball from @calebmegajew, who asked Obama about handling “climate change deniers.”

Nearly 17,000 questions poured in from people using the #AskObama hashtag, and the president strayed a little from climate change to twice answer questions about the NBA, once about Thursday’s firing of Tom Thibodeau, the now-former head coach of his hometown Chicago Bulls.

The second basketball question that the commander-in-chief answered was about the upcoming NBA Finals.

The president also had a presidential gaffe, drawing a bunch of grief from the Twittersphere in his answer about an emerging trade deal.

Obama should have placed the period (.) prior to the (@) to ensure that his entire following would see the tweet.

While it’s the first time the president has answered questions from his new @POTUS Twitter handle, it’s not the first time he has answered questions on Twitter.

Obama participated in a Twitter town hall in 2011, and conducted Twitter Q&As in August and December of 2012.

After the @POTUS account was launched May 18, Twitter says Obama set the record as its fastest user to amass one million followers. He now has nearly 2.5 million followers 10 days later.

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Darren McCollester/Getty Images(EXETER, N.H.) — Former New York Gov. George Pataki launched his 2016 presidential run Thursday by committing a minor flub while in New Hampshire.

Delivering the final, emphatic lines of his announcement speech, the former Republican governor exhorted the crowd of supporters, saying: “Let us move forward, so just as the dreams of that young child growing up in Peekskill, N.Y. [referring to himself] came true, so too the dreams of a young child born today, whether in downtown Baltimore or here in Nashua, New Hampshire can come true.”

One problem: Pataki was speaking in Exeter, about an hour drive from Nashua. The former governor gave no pause after the slip before closing his speech.

Pataki is the eighth Republican to officially enter the 2016 presidential race, joining a field that includes Marco Rubio, Rick Santorum, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee and Rand Paul.

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ABC/Donna Svennevik(WASHINGTON) — Coming soon to a rally near you: a fashion-forward Rick Santorum.

The newly-announced presidential candidate — known for his signature sweater vests — may be sporting an updated look in 2016.

“I have two daughters who are the fashion consultants — they’ve appointed themselves the fashion consultants to the campaign and so you’re going to be seeing attire that reflects their tastes, not mine,” Santorum told ABC News’ Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos Wednesday.

In 2012, sales of Santorum-branded sweater vests reportedly netted $300,000 for the campaign — and spawned a number of parody accounts on Twitter.

Though Santorum’s newfound sartorial taste — on display Wednesday in his exclusive interview with ABC News — may project a more “presidential” air, many will never forget the grandpa-esque style of 2012.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The Secret Service is testing out new spikes to reinforce the White House fence and deter against future would-be fence jumpers.

ABC News first learned last month that the White House would be adding these so-called “no-climb” spikes as a temporary fix to the current fence, but Thursday was the first time that we actually got to see how the spikes will be installed on the fence.

In a video captured by ABC News Thursday morning, the Secret Service can be seen working with government contractors on a test installation of the new spike features. At one point, a Secret Service officer grabs onto the top of the fence with the new spikes installed and pulls himself up, presumably to demonstrate that he could still climb the fence if he wanted to even with the new spikes in place.

The spikes, which are pencil-like steel structures, jutted straight up from the fence when in place and fell below the point of the highest spear-like structures that are already a part of the existing fence. (Again, this was just a test-run, so it’s possible that there could be revisions to the proposed spikes before they are actually installed.)

The Secret Service points out that Thursday’s activities were “not the actual installation of the pointed anti-climb feature, but rather involves verifying specifications prior to the manufacturing process.”

Meanwhile, the Commission on Fine Arts is in the process of soliciting proposals for an entirely new permanent fence, which will go through the concept design review process this fall, according to the National Park Service.

CFA secretary Tom Luebke told ABC News in April that the commission has already ruled out a moat, electrified fence and a solid wall.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The Secret Service is testing out new spikes to reinforce the White House fence and deter against future would-be fence jumpers.

ABC News first learned last month that the White House would be adding these so-called “no-climb” spikes as a temporary fix to the current fence, but Thursday was the first time that we actually got to see how the spikes will be installed on the fence.

In a video captured by ABC News Thursday morning, the Secret Service can be seen working with government contractors on a test installation of the new spike features. At one point, a Secret Service officer grabs onto the top of the fence with the new spikes installed and pulls himself up, presumably to demonstrate that he could still climb the fence if he wanted to even with the new spikes in place.

The spikes, which are pencil-like steel structures, jutted straight up from the fence when in place and fell below the point of the highest spear-like structures that are already a part of the existing fence. (Again, this was just a test-run, so it’s possible that there could be revisions to the proposed spikes before they are actually installed.)

The Secret Service points out that Thursday’s activities were “not the actual installation of the pointed anti-climb feature, but rather involves verifying specifications prior to the manufacturing process.”

Meanwhile, the Commission on Fine Arts is in the process of soliciting proposals for an entirely new permanent fence, which will go through the concept design review process this fall, according to the National Park Service.

CFA secretary Tom Luebke told ABC News in April that the commission has already ruled out a moat, electrified fence and a solid wall.

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Bryan Bedder/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — On the heels of Rick Santorum’s presidential announcement in Pennsylvania Wednesday, former New York Gov. George Pataki plans to announce he’s joining the ballooning field of 2016 candidates on Thursday.

Pataki will be making his decision known in Exeter, New Hampshire.

Ahead of his announcement, the Republican released a video on his website Thursday morning.

“Washington has grown too big, too powerful, too expensive and too intrusive. This is exactly what the founding fathers feared. They knew all governments had the tendency to grow endlessly and ultimately to take power from the people and give it to themselves,” Pataki says in the 4-minute video.

“It is time to stand up, protect our freedom and take back this government,” he adds.

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Bryan Bedder/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — On the heels of Rick Santorum’s presidential announcement in Pennsylvania Wednesday, former New York Gov. George Pataki plans to announce he’s joining the ballooning field of 2016 candidates on Thursday.

Pataki will be making his decision known in Exeter, New Hampshire.

Ahead of his announcement, the Republican released a video on his website Thursday morning.

“Washington has grown too big, too powerful, too expensive and too intrusive. This is exactly what the founding fathers feared. They knew all governments had the tendency to grow endlessly and ultimately to take power from the people and give it to themselves,” Pataki says in the 4-minute video.

“It is time to stand up, protect our freedom and take back this government,” he adds.

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