Bergdahl decision expected in days – CNN International
Washington (CNN)The Army is expected to decide in the coming days how to proceed with disciplinary action against Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the soldier who left his post in Afghanistan, and was captured and held by the Taliban for years before being exchanged last year for five detainees from Guantanamo Bay.
The decision could come “very soon, imminently,” one senior defense official told CNN. The Pentagon issued a statement denying reports that it has determined to charge Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl with desertion over his disappearance from his post in Afghanistan.
NBC News reported Tuesday that Bergdahl will be charged with desertion, following an interview that aired Monday night on Fox News, where a former military officer said he’s been told by sources that Bergdahl’s lawyer has been provided a list of the charges.
The Pentagon press secretary denied the report in a statement posted on Twitter.
“Contrary to media reporting, no decision made by Army leadership with respect to Sgt. Bergdahl’s case. The process will be respected,” Rear Admiral John Kirby said.
“What they are reporting is untrue — there has been no update to what we provided in Dec. Investigation is still with [General Mark] Milley who will determine appropriate action — which ranges from no further action to convening a court martial. We cannot discuss or disclose the findings of the investigation while disciplinary decisions are pending before commanders,” the Army said in a statement provided to CNN.
Eugene Fidell, a member of Bergdahl’s legal team declined to comment to CNN.
Several military sources tell CNN that as of Tuesday morning, Milley who is reviewing the case has not signed or forwarded a charge sheet. Milley has a full range of legal options he could decide upon ranging from no action, to charging Bergdhal with an offense such as desertion that could lead to a courts martial military officials say.
Among the higher ranking officials, there is a good deal of discussion that Bergdahl could be facing a charge of desertion.
“Our culture demands accountability, you can’t just say it didn’t happen,” one official told CNN. The official, who has some knowledge of the case, said “there is no malice in the Pentagon towards Bergdahl,” echoing a sentiment of others that regardless of the charge Bergdahl is unlikely to face jail time, given the years he already spent in Taliban captivity.
One option would be for Bergdahl’s legal team to agree to a plea deal in which he forfeits his back pay, and agrees to a less than honorable discharge officials tell CNN.