The U.S. Army will make public the results of its investigation into Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s alleged desertion of a base in Afghanistan and subsequent capture by Taliban militants in 2009.
A Pentagon spokesperson clarified that, contrary to various media reports, the U.S. Army will release a report by Brig. Gen. Kenneth Dahl, the investigating officer, but only after a review process that will assess the accuracy of the findings is completed. It is uncertain when that will be.
Gen. Dahl has completed and submitted what an Army statement referred to as “the initial report” of the branch’s review of the Bergdahl disappearance from his post and later capture by the Taliban.
In that statement, the Army acknowledged receiving Gen. Dahl’s report, adding that it is being reviewed by commanders, the San Antonio Express-News reported on October 9.
Breitbart News obtained the statement in its entirety from Wayne Hall, an Army spokesman in the Pentagon.
Nowhere in the statement does the Army specifically say it will not make the findings of the investigation public.
The Army did mention, however, that the process will be “lengthy” and that it is premature to “speculate on the potential results or the amount of time the review process will take to complete.”
“The Army is in receipt of the initial report and reviewing it. As we stressed at on the onset, this will be a lengthy process conducted in accordance with applicable laws, regulation and policy,” said the Army in the statement.
“We recognize the importance of the media and the public understanding of our investigative process, and look forward to future discussions on this issue,” it continued. “However, the Army’s priority is ensuring that our process is thorough, factually accurate, impartial, and legally correct. Consequently, 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.”
The Army is investigating assertions that Bergdahl deserted his post in Afghanistan before falling into the hands of the Taliban, which kept him captive for five years. Men who served in Sgt. Bergdahl’s unit have said he deserted his post.
If Bergdahl is found to have deserted or gone AWOL (Absent Without Leave) prior to being captured than he could be punished under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
The Obama administration orchestrated and executed Bergdahl’s release in exchange for five senior Taliban commanders that at the time were being detained at the Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba.
The swap ignited criticism by both Republicans and Democrats in Congress.
Some defense officials have admitted that the Taliban commanders, commonly known as the Taliban five, would return to the battle and fight against the United States.
In August, the Government Accountability Office (GAO), Congress’ watchdog arm, reported that Obama’s Pentagon violated the law by swapping the Taliban detainees for Sgt. Bergdahl.
The GAO concluded that Obama’s Pentagon violated the law “because it did not notify the relevant congressional committees at least 30 days in advance of the transfer” as mandated and for using “appropriated funds to carry out the transfer when no money was available for that purpose.”
The White House cited Bergdahl’s dire physical condition in defending its decision not to notify Congress.
In justifying the swap, the Obama administration also said that Bergdahl’s life would have been in danger if information of the exchange was leaked.