Former platoon members of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl are denying White House charges that they're trying to "Swift Boat" the former Taliban prisoner, saying they simply want the truth told.
Six members of the platoon appeared Thursday on Fox News Channel's "The Kelly File." It was the first time the six had been together since leaving Afghanistan, though they have appeared separately on various news outlets, including Fox News and CNN over the past several days.
They told host Megyn Kelly they felt the need to speak out after they believed the White House began portraying Bergdahl as a hero. National Security Adviser Susan Rice said
Sunday on ABC's "This Week" that he served with "honor and distinction."
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After that, his former platoon members began showing up on television portraying Bergdahl as a deserter. They say he willingly walked away from his post in Afghanistan.
All six raised their hands when asked by Kelly if they thought he deserted. They also were unanimous is saying that the United States should not have traded five high-value Taliban detainees to secure his release.
White House aides have responded to the men's statements by saying they are pursing a political agenda. An official
at the Department of Housing and Urban Development took to Twitter to suggest it might actually be the rest of the platoon that has a problem.
The group told Kelly they have no political agenda, they just want closure and to ask Bergdahl why he left.
"He's not a hero. And he did not serve with distinction. And that is a spit in the face to everyone who joined the Army and anyone who died looking for him," Bergdahl's team leader Evan Buetow said.
Though the men all signed nondisclosure agreements, former Staff Sgt. Justin Gerleve said they amounted more to "gag orders" not to talk about the case until out of the Army and until Bergdahl was safely released. Others who have not spoken out may have signed binding nondisclosure agreements, he said.
They are speaking now, he said, because, "The truth needs to come out."
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