By Kristina Wong - 08/06/14 06:02 PM EDT
The Army read former Afghanistan prisoner of war Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl his rights during his first interview with an investigator on Wednesday.
The Army is investigating the circumstances of Bergdahl's disappearance from his base in Afghanistan and his subsequent capture by the Taliban in 2009. Some former members of his unit allege that Bergdahl, 28, deserted his post, which could be an offense punishable under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
Army spokeswoman Lt. Col. Alayne Conway said the reading of Miranda rights was typical during a military administrative "15-6" investigation, and that Bergdahl was "not charged with anything" and "not under arrest."
Conway said the reading of rights "protects the the person being questioned," and can allow them to refuse to be questioned by the investigating officer.
Bergdahl attorney Eugene Fidell, who was present, told the San Antonio Express-News that Bergdahl was cooperating.
“I can tell you he's been entirely cooperative with the process and has answered all questions,” Fidell said.
The interview process is ongoing, and would run into Thursday as long as Bergdahl continues to talk, Conway said.
She also stressed that the investigation was administrative and fact-finding in nature, not criminal, although it could lead to criminal charges.
Bergdahl was released in May, when the Obama administration negotiated through Qatar with his captors, agreeing to release five senior Taliban commanders detained at Guantanamo Bay.
The move angered some lawmakers, who said the swap amounted to negotiating with terrorists.
Lawmakers were also angered when the Obama administration did not provide 30 days of advance notice for detainee releases from Guantánamo, out of fear the decision would leak and jeopardize the swap.
The Army's investigation will be completed in about 60 days, although that could be extended at Fidell's request, Conway said.
A military defense attorney, Capt. Alfredo Foster, was also present, and an audio recording was made during the question-and-answer session at the Army Criminal Investigation Command office on the post, the Express-News reported.
Bergdahl returned to regular duty last month after going through a reintegration process. He was assigned to perform administrative tasks at the Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston.
— Rebecca Shabad contributed