Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in Final Phase of 'Reintegration'

Wednesday, 25 Jun 2014 06:17 PM

By Cathy Burke

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Former Taliban captive Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl hasn’t admitted any wrongdoing, asked for a lawyer or talked with his parents in the three weeks since the United States swapped five Taliban prisoners for his release.

Stars and Stripes reported Wednesday Bergdahl is in the final phase of his "reintegration" at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, 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, the newspaper reported.

He hasn't been questioned about the circumstances of his 2009 disappearance from a remote outpost in Afghanistan’s Paktika province, officials told the newspaper.
But if he said anything on his own, it could be used in legal or disciplinary proceedings; it also would immediately trigger a reading of his legal rights, the newspaper reported.

Former members of his unit charge soldiers were killed and injured during operations, including searches, that resulted from his disappearance.

"The focus of the reintegration briefing is on point of capture forward," Army officials said. "We have no reason to believe he has engaged in any misconduct. You don’t advise an individual of his or her rights until you believe they’ve engaged in criminal misconduct."

Questions on everything that preceded his capture would be fair game once the "reintegration" process if complete, the newspaper noted.

The Army's preliminary 2009 investigation concluded Bergdahl walked off his post, but last week, the Army appointed a two-star general to start a new probe. Results are due in August.

According to Stars and Stripes, a key question will be whether Bergdahl should be classified as having been a prisoner during his capture, or if he was absent without leave or a deserter. If Bergdahl is found to have been AWOL or a deserter, penalties could range from a court-martial and jail time to being administratively separated from the Army with an other-than-honorable discharge.

If it's found he was a prisoner, he’s eligible for hundreds of thousands of dollars of back pay and prisoner of war benefits, the newspaper reported.

If he deserted or was AWOL, he’ll owe the military for pay that piled up during his captivity.

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