Friday, June 6, 2014

Senator says time was crucial in Bergdahl deal

Soldier to tell his story to military psychologists


By TONY EVANS
Express Staff Writer

    News reports indicate that the Obama administration had to act quickly to save Bowe Bergdahl’s life.  
    Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, told CNN on Thursday that a video of Bergdahl made by the Taliban five months ago, and shown to congressional leaders Wednesday, showed Bergdahl in poor health.
    “He looked terrible,” King said. “Had even the fact of these negotiations leaked out, there was a reasonable chance that Bergdahl would have been killed.”
    The video was shown during a briefing in which administration officials were questioned about the legality of a prisoner exchange that led to Bergdahl’s release.    
    Details about a classified military investigation leaked to The New York Times on Thursday indicate that Bergdahl had previously left military bases without permission in California and in Afghanistan.
    “The roughly 35-page report, completed two months after Sergeant Bergdahl left his unit, concludes that he most likely walked away of his own free will from his outpost in the darkness of night, and it criticized lax security practices and poor discipline within his unit. But it stops short of concluding that there is solid evidence that Sergeant Bergdahl intended to permanently desert,” the story states.
    Army Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, reported to The Washington Post on Thursday that Bergdahl’s health is improving and that he remains in stable condition as he undergoes treatment at Landstuhl Army Medical Center in Germany.
    Warren said medical professionals will determine when the next stage of the reintegration begins. That phase will be conducted in San Antonio, Texas.
    “The process is about helping the returnee gain control of his emotions,” Warren said. “One of the methods the psychologists use to help the returnee is to allow him to tell his story.”
    Bergdahl, 28, of Hailey, went missing from his post in Afghanistan in June 2009, and was held as a prisoner of the Taliban for nearly five years.
Tony Evans: tevans@mtexpress.com




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