The Slatest

Report: Bowe Bergdahl Left Unit to Become Whistleblower

Retired U.S. Army Spc. Cody Full, who served with Bergdahl, gives testimony to a House subcommittee.

Larry Downing/Reuters

Bowe Bergdahl intended to report alleged wrongdoing committed in his unit at a different Army outpost when he disappeared in 2009, two defense officials familiar with an internal report on his case told CNN. Bergdahl, who was kidnapped and held prisoner by the Taliban for five years when he left his unit, has officially been charged with desertion and “misbehavior before the enemy” and faces life imprisonment. His claims about his intentions could be part of his defense. From CNN:

What Bergdahl’s concerns were, and whether they are relevant to the case of desertion the Army is trying to make will be a matter for military authorities to decide. “I can’t tell you if his concerns were valid, but in his mind they were,” the official said.

Both officials said Bergdahl believed he could make it to the next base by relying on wilderness skills he learned growing up in rural Idaho, even though the area was full of insurgents. It was not immediately clear how far the nearest base was during that timeframe in July 2009.

The next step in Bergdahl’s potential prosecution is an “Article 32 hearing” that will help determine whether he will be tried via court-martial.