The Army has concluded its lengthy investigation into the disappearance of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in Afghanistan, and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has been briefed on the matter ahead of the filing of any possible charges.
Details of the investigation have been closely held, according to the Daily Mail, yet they are likely to establish whether Bergdahl deserted his post, or committed the lesser offense of being AWOL, “Absent Without Leave.”
The Army must now decide whether Bergdahl should face charges, which will also determine if he will be eligible for $300,000 in back pay and benefits. Army Secretary John McHugh has the ability to send the case to a military commander, who would assess whether any charges will be filed against Bergdahl.
As the Inquisitr has previously reported, Sgt. Bergdahl went missing in the mountains of Afghanistan in July of 2009. Reportedly captured by the Taliban, Bergdahl was then turned over to the Haqqani terrorist network in Pakistan. In May, Bergdahl was released as part of a prisoner exchange, in which five Taliban commanders were granted their freedom.
Army has finished its investigation of Bowe Bergdahl. Defense secretary to be briefed today: http://t.co/DDfpotLvZm pic.twitter.com/b4d7GKCqhc
— Idaho Statesman (@IdahoStatesman) December 19, 2014
After recuperating for two weeks in a U.S. military hospital in Germany, Bergdahl was sent to Fort Sam Houston on June 13. As he awaits the conclusion of his case, Bergdahl is performing administrative duties at the base.
Hagel’s briefing in Bergdahl’s case is strictly informational, according to Pentagon press secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby, and the Defense Secretary is not expected to have any input in the proceedings.
“The secretary is not going to do arm twisting” Kirby noted. “There’s no role for him in the process to modify the investigation.”
According to NBC News, the Army’s first investigation into Bergdahl’s disappearance, conducted in 2009, concluded that he deliberately left his base. Such a finding could lead to the filing of criminal charges against Bergdahl, and a conviction could possibly lead to imprisonment or reduction in rank and loss of back pay and benefits.
Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was also briefed on the results of the investigation earlier this week. Maj. Gen. Kenneth R. Dahl was tasked with conducting the probe into Bergdahl’s disappearance, and spent months interviewing members and commanders of his unit. Dahl submitted the report in October, and since then it has been subjected to a lengthy legal review, meant to establish how the Army can proceed in Bowe Bergdahl’s case.
[Image: AP via the Daily Mail]