After returning to duty just a few weeks ago, Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl will start being questioning today in San Antonio, Texas, by U.S. Army investigator Major General Kenneth Dahl.
The investigation surrounds the circumstances of Sgt Bergdahl’s capture in 2009, which resulted in his release in May in exchange for five Taliban detainees.
The BBC reports Sgt. Bergdahl has hired civilian lawyer Eugene Fidell, a Yale law professor, to aid in his defense.
Fidell has said Sgt. Bergdahl, who is currently not facing any charges, “will be as co-operative as possible with General Dahl.” However, Fidell has declined to speculate as to what Sgt. Bergdahl will say to the investigating general.
Many people have surmised Sgt. Bergdahl intentionally left his post in 2009 which led to his capture by Taliban forces. According to CNN, a fact-finding investigation held by the Army in the months after Sgt. Bergdahl’s capture, found he had “deliberately and of his own free-will,” left his outpost and fellow soldiers while on duty in Afghanistan.
Newsmax has also reported several members of Sgt. Bergdahl’s former unit have hinted Sgt. Bergdahl was either absent without leave or had abandoned his post in Afghanistan.
Military attorney Greg Rinckey, who has heard and handled similar cases to Sgt. Bergdahl’s, has stated the meeting between Sgt. Bergdahl and Gen. Dahl will not be adversarial, but rather informal.
“This … general is going to be talking to Sergeant Bergdahl, asking him several questions with his lawyer present,” Rinckey said according to Newsmax. “It is really not an interrogation, it’s more of an interview.”
After the investigation of Sgt Bergdahl, Gen. Dahl will likely follow-up with fellow members of Sgt. Bergdahl’s unit and his superiors before making recommendations up the chain of command. Depending on his findings, Gen. Dahl can either, according to NBC News, say he found no wrongdoing and recommend no further action on the case, or recommend a court-martial which could ultimately result in the death penalty.
Rinckey said, because of the questionable circumstances and general lack of clear insight of the case, he does not believe the death penalty would be considered if Sgt. Bergdahl were to face a court-martial.