Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Video: Bergdahl Charged With Desertion, Misbehavior Before the Enemy

Posted By on Wed, Mar 25, 2015 at 12:22 PM

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Idaho native and U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl faces charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy in connection with his 2009 disappearance and ultimate five-year captivity by the Taliban.

Bergdahl's attorney Eugene Fiddell confirmed that his client had been handed a so-called "charge sheet" March 24. 

The charges announced Wednesday mean that Sergeant Bergdahl will first receive an Article 32 hearing, which is like a civilian grand jury inquiry. It is designed to determine whether there is enough evidence to proceed to court-martial.

While many civilians have heard of "desertion," a charge of "misbehavior before the enemy" is a bit more uncommon. According to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, it is the charge given to any US troop who, first and foremost, “before or in the presence of the enemy runs away.”The misbehavior before the enemy charge can also be levied against anyone who “causes false alarms in any command, unit, or place under control of the armed forces.”

The 28-year-old Bergdahl went missing from Paktika Province June 30, 2009, and was held captive in Pakistan until May 2014, when he was freed as part of a controversial prisoner swap. Bergdahl has been stationed in Texas since his release.

In May 2014, President Obama called it a "good day" when Bergdahl was freed, but critics, including some high-ranking Republicans, loudly denounced the deal, likening it to negotiating with terrorists. Also, lawmakers complained that Congress had not been consulted about the exchange, as they said the law requires.

Earlier this month, a report published by the office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) said that one of the 17 agencies under the directorate judged that one of the prisoners released from Guantanamo in the last year had re-engaged with the Taliban.

"That detainee’s status will be continually evaluated and may be reflected in future reports, depending on the information available and the views within the Intelligence Community at that time," the DNI report said.

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