The Bowe Bergdahl prisoner swap is an unfolding disaster for the Obama Administration, and if the information leaked by senior military and intelligence sources to Fox News proves out, Bergdahl’s trial for desertion will be epic.
According to those sources, the fabled NCIS (Naval Criminal Investigative Service) looked into Bergdahl’s disappearance in 2009, and found substantial evidence that he planned his desertion, looking for help from Afghans on a journey that was eventually going to end in a meeting with Russian gangsters in Uzbekistan. Plan B for Bergdahl seems to have involved hooking up with the Taliban, which is what eventually happened, although not the way he planned it.
The evidence in question was reportedly obtained during a “forensic search” of Bergdahl’s computer by NCIS, which also spoke with both Bergdahl’s platoon mates and Afghans he had been in contact with. Appearing on Bill O’Reilly’s Fox News show, retired Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer gave NCIS much credit for shouldering the effort and risk involved in interviewing Afghans “outside the wire.” Shaffer seemed confident that more shoes would be dropping on Bergdahl in the days to come.
O’Reilly and Shaffer agreed that these alleged desertion plans were far-fetched enough to question Bergdahl’s mental state, which might be part of his legal defense strategy. Fox News notes that Bergdahl’s lawyers were unwilling to discuss the leaked NCIS report on the record.
The UK Daily Mail reports lead attorney Eugene Fidell has cited the contrary opinion of the Army major general investigating Bergdahl’s capture that he did not “intend to remain away from his base permanently.” A previous attempt to claim Bergdahl didn’t desert his post at all, but was rather attempting to journey overland to another Army base to report misconduct within his own unit, didn’t go over very well.
Let’s be clear (as Fox News is) that word of this 2009 report is coming from two anonymous “senior sources.” It shouldn’t be necessary to speculate for long about the accuracy of these sources, since the report would certainly become part of the prosecution’s desertion case against Bergdahl. A hearing roughly comparable to a civilian grand jury is scheduled for July 8.
If the NCIS report matches the description provided by Fox News’ sources, it’s going to be a gigantic problem for the Obama White House. It has resolutely insisted Bergdahl was a model soldier whose rescue from Taliban captivity was their top priority, and the entire Democrat Party joined the chorus. A contrary report showing evidence of premeditation and/or mental instability would mark Obama and his staff as incompetent at best, for somehow not being aware of the information, and deeply dishonest at worst.