U.S. Army promises “thorough, transparent and complete review” of circumstances surrounding Bergdahl’s capture.
The U.S. military indicates it will conduct a new review into the circumstances of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s disappearance and captivity.
From USA Today:
The U.S. Army said Tuesday it will launch a new review into the circumstances surrounding Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl leaving his post and subsequent capture by the Taliban now that he has been released and can be interviewed.
The new investigation comes amid mounting allegations by fellow soldiers and politicians that Bergdahl deserted his post and the search for him put additional troops at risk.
The review “will include speaking with Sgt. Bergdhal to better learn from him the circumstances of his disappearance and captivity,” Army Secretary John McHugh said in a statement.
The Army had already completed an earlier review that involved speaking with soldiers in his unit.
Separately, Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in a Facebook posting that Army leaders would “not look away from misconduct if it occurred” in connection with the capture of Bergdahl.
A statement posted Wednesday at the Dept. of Defense website from Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Raymond T. Odierno also promised a “thorough, transparent and complete review of the circumstances surrounding [Bergdahl’s] capture.”
Fellow soldiers who claim to have served with Bergdahl have been speaking out in recent days, many of them critical of the circumstances surrounding Bergdahl’s disappearance and of the possible impact of subsequent search efforts. Some say the deaths of other soldiers could have been indirectly related to those search efforts.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Wednesday seemed to push back against some of the recent criticism and claims.
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Wednesday it is unfair to the family of released captive Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl to leap to conclusions about his behavior in uniform.
“We don’t do that in the United States,” Hagel told reporters at a NATO defense ministers meeting. “We rely on facts.”
Hagel said the Army will review the circumstances surrounding how Bergdahl left his unit and was captured by the Taliban, and added, “It’s not my place as a former sergeant in the Army to decide who’s worthy of being a sergeant and who isn’t.”
Bergdahl was released Saturday from five years’ captivity by the Taliban in exchange for five top Taliban officials.
Asked whether men had died in the efforts to rescue Bergdahl, Hagel said, “I don’t know of any circumstances or details of U.S. soldiers dying as a result of efforts to get Bergdahl.”
The Associated Press reported on Tuesday that a 2010 Pentagon investigation concluded Bergdahl had walked away from his unit, though it didn’t formally accuse Bergdahl of desertion, according to FOX News.
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