Army Official: Bergdahl Didn't Help Taliban

Thursday, 26 Jun 2014 07:34 AM

By Drew MacKenzie

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Freed captive Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has been provisionally cleared of helping the enemy while he was held prisoner by the Taliban, a U.S. Army official told The Wall Street Journal.

"We have no reason to believe that he engaged in any misconduct" during his five years in captivity, said the Army official.

The Army has been conducting an investigation into whether Bergdahl deserted his post in June, 2009 while he was stationed in a remote area of Afghanistan. The probe was launched after Bergdahl was publicly accused by members of his unit of desertion.

Although a classified investigation by the Army in 2009 found that the sergeant had left his post voluntarily, it did not call him a deserter because officials were unable to question him while he was held by the Taliban, the Journal said, citing sources.

Bergdahl was freed last month in a controversial exchange with five Taliban leaders being held at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Since the swap, soldiers who served with Bergdahl have suggested that he may have given classified information to his captors.

His former platoon mates have claimed that several soldiers were killed or injured during search missions for Bergdahl.

Bergdahl was flown back to the United States earlier this month, and this week was moved to an outpatient facility at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, the Journal said.

Bergdahl is in the final phase of his "reintegration" at the center, where a staff psychologist will decide when he’s ready for release. The process includes helping Bergdahl deal with the effects of five years in captivity, and could be completed within two weeks.

He has not admitted any wrongdoing, asked for a lawyer or talked with his parents in the three weeks since his release, according to reports.

Bergdahl is yet to be questioned by the Army officials assigned to the investigation. After his recovery process is completed, the Army will interview Bergdahl and decide if he should face disciplinary proceedings.

If Bergdahl is charged with desertion, he could face court-martial, prison time and possibly even the death penalty, the newspaper added.

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