Tags: | Army | Bergdahl | desertion

Some See Political Motives in Withholding of Bergdahl Report

Image: Some See Political Motives in Withholding of Bergdahl Report
U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Berghdal. (U.S. Army/Reuters/Landov)

By    |   Thursday, 16 Oct 2014 11:41 AM

Results of the military's investigation into whether Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl deserted his unit when he went missing from an Afghanistan base for five years are unlikely to be released in advance of the November midterm elections, the U.K.'s Daily Mail reports.

The wait for the probe's results has drawn speculation from lawmakers and even some of Bergdahl's own platoon mates, the Daily Mail noted, as the Army continues to review details of the investigation's findings, which are complete but have not yet been publicly released.

The Army last Friday issued a statement cautioning speculation as the review comes to a conclusion. The timing is suspect as the political ramifications could influence midterm elections that will decide the balance in Congress.

"As we stressed at the onset, this will be a lengthy process conducted in accordance with applicable laws, regulation and policy," Army officials noted, according to the Daily Mail. "We recognize the importance of the media and the public understanding of our investigative process, and look forward to future discussions on this issue."

Some platoon mates have spoken out publicly about their belief that Bergdahl did desert  and question how there could be another conclusion about his conduct.

Sgt. Evan Beutow, who was Bergdahl's platoon leader at the time of the incident, told Fox News that he had been interviewed at length by Army investigators about specifics of the case. He shared that when Bergdahl was reported missing, radio chatter in the region alerted the platoon that Bergdahl had been wandering through Afghan communities seeking someone to help him communicate with Taliban forces.

"We came out when he first got released, and we explained exactly what happened. He deserted his post, all on his own, and we're now still sitting here waiting for answers," Beutow told Fox's Sean Hannity of what he sees is a delay in the release of the Army's investigation.

Bergdahl, who disappeared in 2009, spent five years in Taliban captivity before being exchanged for by U.S. troops in May in a secret mission approved by President Barack Obama. It sparked criticism after Obama traded five prisoners from Guantanamo Bay in a swap not approved by Congress.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel defended the mission and its secrecy but faced harsh scrutiny during congressional hearings over lack of transparency and lawmaker approval of the trade, the New York Post reported. He said the U.S. did not negotiate with terrorists, even as Bowe had been held by a known terrorist network during his captivity.

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Results of the military's investigation into whether Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl deserted his unit when he went missing from an Afghanistan base for five years are unlikely to be released in advance of the November midterm elections, the U.K.'s Daily Mail reports.
Army, Bergdahl, desertion
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2014-41-16
Thursday, 16 Oct 2014 11:41 AM
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