Army: Premature to release Bergdahl review

Army: Premature to release Bergdahl review
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It is premature to discuss releasing the results of an investigation into Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's disappearance and capture by the Taliban in 2009, a Pentagon spokesman said Friday.

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"We recognize the importance of the media and the public understanding of our investigative process, and look forward to future discussions on this issue. However, the Army's priority is ensuring that our process is thorough, factually accurate, impartial, and legally correct," Army spokesman Wayne Hall said in a statement.

The Army is looking into whether Bergdahl deserted his post or was absent without leave, both of which would punishable under military law and force him to forfeit hundreds of thousands of dollars in wages accrued during captivity.

Army Maj. Gen. Kenneth Dahl completed a review of this case this week, but Hall declined to set a timeline for a final decision.
 
“At this time, it would be inappropriate to speculate on the potential results or the amount of time the review process will take to complete," Hall said.
 
The question of whether Bergdahl deserted his post became a flashpoint earlier this year after President Obama went around Congress to secure his release by swapping five Taliban detainees from the Guantánamo Bay facility.

Several soldiers who served with Bergdahl have testified to Congress and told media outlets that they believe the 28-year-old sergeant had planned his departure in advance, and risked the lives of those who went to find him.

Bergdahl is currently on active duty and serving at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston.

The trade for Bergdahl sparked anger on Capitol Hill from both Democrats and Republicans.

The Obama administration kept the prisoner swap secret until after it was completed, ignoring a law requiring it to give 30 days advance notice to members of Congress before any detainee release from Guantanamo.

A government watchdog agency found in August that the administration broke the law by not notifying Congress, as well as another law prohibiting it to spend money on any detainee transfer from Guantánamo.

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

— This story was corrected on Oct. 14 at 5:13 to reflect that the Army has not set a timeline for completing or releasing the Bowe Bergdahl review. An earlier version contained incorrect information.