Why hasn’t Army’s report on Bowe Bergdahl been released?
The Army has apparently completed its investigation of the circumstances surrounding the suspected desertion of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, but no one expects to see the results before Tuesday’s elections. The last thing the Obama administration wants now is a round of attention to the sordid details of another public-relations disaster. Sgt. Bergdahl, at the time a private, walked away from his base in Afghanistan in 2009 and spent nearly five years in Taliban captivity. His captors released him in May in exchange for five high-ranking Taliban terrorist commanders held at Guantanamo Bay. The Obama administration conducted the negotiations behind the back of Congress, and several soldiers who served with Sgt. Bergdahl, angry that the president traded five battle-hardened terrorists they had risked their lives to capture, said the sergeant had actually deserted his post. He may have gone looking for Taliban captors.
According to the Washington Times, as many as 20 secure video conferences involving the potential release of Bowe Bergdahl were attended by his parents. Robert and Jani Bergdahl attended the conferences despite having no security clearances at all. The video conferences were among the Bergdahls, White House staff, intelligence officials, State Department officials, and even commanders on the ground in Afghanistan.
One former State Department official was quoted in the Washington Times. He plainly stated that including civilians in such conferences was wrong. "To put them in the middle of what is essentially a classified secure video conference is ridiculous," he said.
From a security perspective Bob Bergdahl's sympathy for Guantanamo Bay prisoners complicates an already confusing situation. After all, these men are terrorists who are wanted by the United Nations for massacring thousands of fellow Muslims before fighting the United States. In a tweet that was later deleted, Bob Bergdahl said, "@ABalkhi I am still working to free all Guantanamo prisoners. God will repay for the death of every Afghan child, ameen!"
No one has explained why these two civilians with questionable alliances were permitted to participate in such high-level conferences.
Before Bowe Bergdahl's capture, the family led a quiet life in Idaho, where they homeschooled their children and were devout members of the local Presbyterian church. The home is still filled with books, but both of the couple's kids were raised in a home without television.
According to the UK's Guardian.com, Bob Bergdahl changed three things about his life when his son was taken captive. He began studying foreign policy online, he bought a television to watch news, and he stopped shaving. In addition to foreign policy, Bob Bergdahl immersed himself in negotiation techniques and the Afghan culture, including the languages Pashtu and Arabic. His growing beard was meant to give him an air of authority like that of an Afghan village elder.
There is no word on whether Bob Bergdahl was allowed to use his newly acquired knowledge to affect negotiations. However, it is fairly clear that White House aides did not know that the senior Bergdahl would use his moments of fame to speak controversial statements in both Pashtu and Arabic.
The press conference where Bergdahl upset many Americans with what appeared to be enemy rhetoric sparked rumors. Many said that Bergdahl had converted to Islam. However, according to others in the close-knit Idaho community, the Bergdahls remain regular devotees at their local church.
In another questionable interview, conducted after the White House appearance, Bob Bergdahl spoke directly to Bowe, saying, "I'm proud of how much you wanted to help the Afghan people. And what you were willing to do to go to that length."
Even if these sentiments and Bowe Bergdahl's desertion in theater are merely the naive actions and beliefs of an isolated and open-minded family, the question still remains about including civilians without security clearances in highly classified conferences. No one has even begun to explain this inclusion to the American people.
Since the security of our troops depends upon treating classified information with respect, inviting the couple to such conferences seems more than compassionate simplemindedness. It seems like a dangerous precedent.
Heaven forbid they release anything that could damage the Dems chances next week. Typical political crap. It doesn't bother me they included the parents in some of their talks although I'm willing to bet, if they hadn't, they'd be criticized for not doing so as well. It's not as if they were at Norad or had access to any deep, dark military secrets (in my opinion).