By Mario Trujillo - 06/11/14 10:51 AM EDT
More than 7 in 10 people believe Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl should be charged with military crimes if he deserted his post before the Taliban captured him five years ago.
A Washington Post-ABC News poll found 73 percent would support charges being brought if he is found to have deserted. Only 20 percent would oppose charges.
Lawmakers on Capitol Hill have criticized the exchange of five high-ranking Taliban members imprisoned at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility for the return of Bergdahl. They are upset the administration did not give them prior warning of the release of prisoners, and say the deal could harm national security since there is no guarantee former detainees will not return to the battlefield.
Recent polling has shown more people disapprove than approve of the swap. The Post poll is the first to find a majority disagrees with the exchange.
Fifty-one percent disapprove of the swap, while 39 percent approve. Disapproval would shoot to 63 percent if it were found that Bergdahl deserted before his capture.
According to The New York Times, a report completed shortly after his capture in 2009 found that Bergdahl most likely intentionally left his outpost before he was captured. However, it did not conclude whether he intended return.
Military officials have said the will review the circumstances of his disappearance once the soldier's health recovers. They have indicated charges could be brought if he is found to have deserted.
The Obama administration has said regardless of the circumstances surrounding his disappearance, the United States has an obligation to recover captured soldiers.
The poll surveyed 1,023 people from June 4-8 and has a margin of error of 3.5 percent.