Bergdahl review complete, Hagel to be briefed

The final results of the Army’s investigation into Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl could be outlined in a briefing to Defense Secretary Chuck HagelCharles (Chuck) Timothy HagelInterpreter who helped rescue Biden in 2008 escapes Afghanistan Overnight Defense & National Security — Pentagon chiefs to Congress: Don't default Pentagon chiefs say debt default could risk national security MORE as early as today, the Pentagon said Friday. 

The Army earlier this year launched an investigation of Bergdahl, a former prisoner of war in Afghanistan, to determine whether he had deserted his post when he was kidnapped by the Taliban in 2009. 

Army Maj. Gen. Kenneth Dahl completed the investigation in October, but the Army did not discuss its results, pending the need for further review. 

The review is now complete. Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby defended the decision not to release the results earlier. 

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"It is a fact that sometimes investigations are used in follow-on judicial processes, and therefore, are not released until those judicial processes are complete," Kirby said.

However, he added, "It's for the Army to decide what the next steps are." 

The question of whether Bergdahl deserted his post became contentious earlier this year, after President Obama secured his release by swapping five Taliban detainees from the Guantánamo Bay detention camp.

Obama did not consult Congress in advance of the deal, citing an imperative to keep the negotiations secret.

Several soldiers who served with Bergdahl have either testified to Congress or 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. 

There has been growing speculation among military analysts that the report will find that Bergdahl deserted, but that he is not a traitor.

Earlier this week, it was announced that a soldier who deserted his unit to join the Foreign Legion in France would be imprisoned for four years. 

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 ignored a law requiring it to give 30 days advance notice to members of Congress before any detainee release from Guantánamo.

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.

The Obama administration has argued that Bergdahl’s life would have been in danger had word of the negotiations leaked.