Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Bergdahl investigation begins today

Army investigators expected to probe allegations of desertion

Express Staff Writer

Bowe Bergdahl

    An investigation will begin today, Aug. 6, into the circumstances surrounding Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s disappearance from a military base in Afghanistan in 2009.
    Bergdahl, 28, was released in May during a controversial prisoner exchange that also freed five Taliban leaders from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The Obama administration was accused of completing the prisoner exchange without approval of legislators.    
    Bergdahl was raised in Blaine County, and worked and lived in Hailey and Ketchum. He was captured in the Paktika province of Afghanistan in June 2009, apparently after leaving his post willingly.
    The U.S. Army issued a statement in May declaring that Bergdahl had been cleared of any misconduct while in Taliban captivity. He returned to active duty last month in Texas.
    A welcome-home celebration for Bergdahl was canceled in June due to numerous threats aimed at Hailey City Hall and other organizations supporting the soldier.
    Bergdahl’s detractors have claimed that he does not deserve a hero’s welcome, but should instead be charged with desertion.
    Bergdahl’s attorney, Eugene Fidell, said Bergdahl will report to Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, where he will face questioning about his motivations to leave his encampment, NBC News reported Tuesday.
    Bergdahl has met once before with Maj. Gen. Kenneth Dahl, the point person for the Army's investigation.
    CNN recently reported that a military official said the Army has no definitive finding that Bergdahl deserted because that would require knowing his intent, something officials couldn’t learn without talking to the soldier.
    Bergdahl was a private first class when he was captured. The Army extended his enlistment and twice promoted him on schedule while he was in captivity.
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