Report: Bergdahl investigation completed

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The Army has completed its investigation into Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's 2009 disappearance from his post in Afghanistan that led to his subsequent capture by the Taliban, according to a news report Thursday.

A report by the investigating officer, Brig. Gen. Kenneth Dahl, is now being reviewed by commanders, but will not be released, according to the San Antonio Express-News.

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Army spokesman Wayne Hall said the review process likely would be lengthy, and that “the Army's priority is ensuring that our process is thorough, factually accurate, impartial, and legally correct,” according to the report. 

The Army is looking into whether Bergdahl had deserted his post in Afghanistan or was away without leave before he was captured, which would be violations of, and punishable under, the Uniform Code of Military Justice. 

The Obama administration secured Bergdahl's release in May in exchange for releasing five senior Taliban detainees from the Guantánamo Bay detention facility, a swap that sparked anger on Capitol Hill from both Democrats and Republicans. 

The administration said it had ignored a law requiring it to notify members of Congress 30-days ahead of any detainee release from the facility, since it conflicted with the president's constitutional right to protect Americans overseas, and out of concern that a leak could derail the deal and endanger Bergdahl or his rescuers. 

A government watchdog agency found in August that the administration broke the law, as well as another law prohibiting it to spend money on any detainee transfer. 

The move also angered lawmakers and critics who said the swap violated a policy not to negotiate with terrorists, even though the administration said it had brokered the deal through Qatari officials, who agreed to take custody of the detainees for a year. 

Other lawmakers expressed fears the detainees would return to the battlefield to endanger the lives of Americans serving in Afghanistan. 

If Bergdahl is found guilty of desertion or being away without leave, he could forfeit hundreds of thousands of dollars in wages accrued during his captivity, Army officials said earlier this year. 

It would also tarnish the swap, which the administration had announced with some fanfare. 

Some troops who served with Bergdahl claimed the 28-year-old had deserted his post and endangered the lives of those who were tasked to find him. 

Bergdahl is currently serving at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston.