Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 12, 2016

Bergdahl ‘Innocent Until Proven Guilty’

Gen. Martin Dempsey said Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is "innocent until proven guilty."

Dempsey said Bergdahl is “innocent until proven guilty.” (Bill Clark/Roll Call File Photo)

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl could be prosecuted for the circumstances surrounding his capture by the Taliban, but is “innocent until proven guilty,” the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff suggested Tuesday.

“As for the circumstances of his capture, when he is able to provide them, we’ll learn the facts,” Gen. Martin E. Dempsey said in a statement. “Like any American, he is innocent until proven guilty. Our Army’s leaders will not look away from misconduct if it occurred. In the meantime, we will continue to care for him and his family.”

The statement, sent to reporters by the White House, comes as the administration tries to quell a burgeoning controversy over President Barack Obama’s decision to trade five prisoners from the military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to secure Bergdahl’s release.

Soldiers who served with Bergdahl have accused him of deserting his post before his capture, and said other soldiers were later killed trying to rescue him.

Dempsey defended Obama’s decision.

“In response to those of you interested in my personal judgments about the recovery of SGT Bowe Bergdahl, the questions about this particular soldier’s conduct are separate from our effort to recover ANY U.S. service member in enemy captivity,” he said. “This was likely the last, best opportunity to free him.”

Dempsey also acknowledged those who tried to secure Bergdahl’s release.

“Finally, I want to thank those who for almost five years worked to find him, prepared to rescue him, and ultimately put themselves at risk to recover him,” he said.


Related stories:

Bergdahl Deal Didn’t Break Law, White House Insists

McKeon: Obama Broke Law in Bergdahl-Guantanamo Prisoner Swap


  • ShadrachSmith

    Obama did this deal now (it has been on the table for years) to take the VA scandal off the front page. Now it is Steven’s job to make Obama look smart for doing it.

    Steven is quoting Obama’s hand picked toady about the values of the exchange is today’s prefered method for pretending Obama was brilliant until proven otherwise. Bather, rinse, repeat :-)

  • Zork

    Since free markets spontaneously make us aware of where to apply our efforts, centralized planning and control are useless in free markets.

  • Mike Alan

    BS, the guy is not innocent until proven guilty until charges are brought against him. Until then I will go with the fact he walked off base and wrote a letter bashing america and his fellow soldiers. I deserted and seeked out the taliban. I would say that is enough info to NOT release 5 vicious killers who have already said they plan on going back to war against americans. Lovely and Obama says he has nothing to apologize for. FU BARRY

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