Former Officer: Soldiers Were 'Threatened' if They Questioned Bergdahl Story
A former U.S. officer who served in Afghanistan with Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl claims that soldiers were threatened by U.S. authorities if they questioned his story.
After he was captured, Bergdahl said on a video from his captors that he lagged behind on patrol, although other sources in the military suggested anonymously that he walked away from his post.
“Not only has this nebulous non-story been put out for years but you know these soldiers of 4th Brigade 25th Infantry Division were threatened with legal repercussions if they spoke about Bergdahl. Everybody officially mandated silencing of what we saw has been so frustrating,” Bethea explained on BBC World Service Radio today.
Bethea served in Sgt. Bergdahl's unit, and was an infantry officer in the U.S. Army from 2007 to 2014
CNN’s Jake Tapper also reported that many of Bergdahl's fellow troops signed nondisclosure agreements agreeing to never share any information about Bergdahl's disappearance and the efforts to recapture him.
Bethea explained that now he was safe, more soldiers would be trying to tell the truth of his disappearance.
BBC interviewed Bethea after he wrote an article for the Daily Beast, asserting that Bergdahl was a deserter.
“He is safe, and now it is time to speak the truth,” he wrote. “And that the truth is: Bergdahl was a deserter, and soldiers from his own unit died trying to track him down.”
Bethea admitted that it would probably be unlikely that Bergdahl would face a court martial, because it would cast doubt on the deal the United States made with the Taliban to secure his release.
“I would at least like to see an official statement on what happened,” he said, referring to the Department of Defense.
Bergdahl is currently at an American military hospital in Germany, where he is being evaluated.
Bethea said that he would reserve judgement whether or not Bergdahl betrayed his country.
“I’m not going to call the guy a traitor just because it sounds like a stronger or harsher word than deserter,” Bethea said, admitting that he didn’t know what happened to him after he was captured.