(by B. Christopher Agee, WCJ) -- Months after his name made headlines, first as a released hostage and then as a possible traitor, Bowe Bergdahl is the source of renewed scrutiny ahead of a new U.S. Army report set to be released.
The Army sergeant was released from Taliban custody in an exchange that set five dangerous Guantanamo Bay prisoners free. Barack Obama approved the controversial trade despite acknowledging that the released terror suspects “absolutely” posed a continuing threat to America.
Not only have critics maintained the exchange could embolden terrorists to take even more Americans hostage in the future, Bergdahl has had his character questioned extensively by those who served with him in Afghanistan.
Several soldiers reported that, in the days leading up to Bergdahl’s 2009 disappearance, he deserted his platoon, leading to a doomed search-and-rescue mission that cost as many as eight individuals their lives.
The military soon launched an investigation into Bergdahl and the circumstances surrounding his release, which analysts recently revealed was completed in October. Army Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer and Col. David Hunt spoke to Fox News host Bill O’Reilly this week and explained that they had both heard from reliable sources that the report compiled by military brass will show Bergdahl was a deserter and a traitor to his country.
Shaffer worked on securing Bergdahl’s release, telling O’Reilly he was selected based on his expertise to “advise a couple of the different commands about specifically some options to bring him back.”
Of three such options on the table, he explained, Obama chose the only one that offered the Taliban an exchange and other incentives for the release of the soldier. Furthermore, he confirmed, the Army report will likely show just how far Bergdahl went to disavow the military and his country.
Bergdahl deserted and “did as much damage as Private Bradley Manning,” he said. “People died looking for him and…I feel he gave aid and comfort to the enemy, the Taliban.”
Shaffer indicated the report will likely be released next month and “will confirm that Bergdahl was a deserter.”
The bigger question, he maintained, is whether he was also a traitor.
He concluded that the Army “will give him a less-honorable discharge,” though the fact that he has already received hundreds of thousands of dollars in back pay has left a black mark on the military.
“It’s embarrassing for the Army and the Department of Defense,” he said.