Here Comes the Army Investigation Into Bowe Bergdahl’s Capture

Don’t expect any fast answers.

National Journal
Billy House
Add to Briefcase
Billy House
June 16, 2014, 10:05 a.m.

The Army says it has launched an in­vest­ig­a­tion in­to the cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing how and why Army Sgt. Bowe Ber­g­dahl dis­ap­peared from his base in Afgh­anistan in 2009.

Maj. Gen. Ken­neth Dahl, an Army of­ficer with Afgh­anistan com­bat ex­per­i­ence, will lead the ef­fort — but the Army says that will not in­clude form­al ques­tion­ing of Ber­g­dahl him­self, at least not right away.

“The in­vest­ig­at­ing of­ficer will not in­ter­view Sgt. Ber­g­dahl un­til the re­in­teg­ra­tion team clears such in­ter­ac­tion, so no timeline for com­ple­tion of the in­vest­ig­a­tion has been set,” the Army state­ment of­fers.

Ber­g­dahl, 28, went miss­ing on June 30, 2009, in Afgh­anistan’s Pak­tika province, where his bat­talion was de­ployed. He spent five years in cap­tiv­ity un­til his re­lease on May 31, in a con­tro­ver­sial ex­change by the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion for five Taliban pris­on­ers trans­ferred from the U.S. pris­on at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. The ad­min­is­tra­tion says that con­cerns about Ber­g­dahl’s de­teri­or­at­ing health played a role in its think­ing.

Ber­g­dahl was trans­por­ted from a mil­it­ary hos­pit­al last Fri­day and taken to an Army med­ic­al fa­cil­ity in San Ant­o­nio, Texas. In a state­ment re­leased Monday an­noun­cing the in­vest­ig­a­tion, the Army did not make any men­tion of earli­er pre­lim­in­ary fact-find­ing ef­forts that in­dic­ated Ber­dahl had left his post de­lib­er­ately.

But the state­ment does say that Dahl and his in­vest­ig­at­ive team “will have ac­cess to pre­vi­ously gathered doc­u­ment­ary evid­ence, in­clud­ing the 2009 in­vest­ig­a­tion.”

“The primary func­tion of this in­vest­ig­a­tion, as in any oth­er in­vest­ig­a­tion, is to as­cer­tain facts and re­port them to the ap­point­ing au­thor­ity,” the state­ment adds. But it says, “The Army’s top pri­or­ity re­mains Sgt. Ber­g­dahl’s health and re­in­teg­ra­tion. We ask that every­one re­spect the time and pri­vacy ne­ces­sary to ac­com­plish the ob­ject­ives of the last phase of re­in­teg­ra­tion.”

What We're Following See More »
By a Big Margin, House Passes Defense Bill
20 hours ago

The National Defense Authorization Act passed the House this morning by a 375-34 vote. The bill, which heads to the Senate next week for final consideration, would fund the military to the tune of $618.7 billion, "about $3.2 billion more than the president requested for fiscal 2017. ... The White House has issued a veto threat on both the House and Senate-passed versions of the bill, but has not yet said if it will sign the compromise bill released by the conference committee this week."

Walden to Chair Energy and Commerce Committee
22 hours ago

"Republicans have elected Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) the next chairman of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee. Walden defeated Reps. John Shimkus (R-IL) and Joe Barton (R-TX), the former committee chairman, in the race for the gavel" to succeed Michgan's Fred Upton.

Senators Looking to Limit Deportations Under Trump
1 days ago

"Democratic and Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee are working on legislation that would limit deportations" under President-elect Donald Trump. Leading the effort are Judiciary Committee members Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC). Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) is also expected to sign on.

Trump Taps Mattis for Defense Secretary
1 days ago

Donald Trump has selected retired Marine Gen. James 'Mad Dog' Mattis as his secretary of defense, according to The Washington Post. Mattis retired from active duty just four years ago, so Congress will have "to pass new legislation to bypass a federal law that states secretaries of defense must not have been on active duty in the previous seven years." The official announcement is likely to come next week.

Senate OKs 10-Year Extension of Iran Sanctions
1 days ago

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.