The Army has yet to explain to Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl his legal rights even though the soldier has been talking to medical staff who are helping him reintegrate into society and anything he says during their conversations can be used against him in a military court.
A panel of senior Army officials told reporters during a Wednesday morning briefing at the Pentagon that the Army has not advised the missing-and-returned soldier of his rights to an attorney because the Army has no reason to believe that he has done anything legally wrong.
“You don’t advise a person of their rights unless you believe they’ve participated in criminal misconduct,” an official said.
Sgt. Bergdahl spent five years in the clutches of an Islamic militant group and was rescued in late May. He has been undergoing a three-phase recovery process that began at a medical facility in Germany and is ending with outpatient care at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas.
The soldier is at the center of a controversial five-for-one U.S.-Taliban trade that was orchestrated by the Obama administration. He is also the subject of an Army investigation, designed to dig out the facts and circumstances surrounding his disappearance from Combat Outpost Mest-Lalak in Paktika Province, Afghanistan, in the summer of 2009.
Maj. Gen. Kenneth Dahl is leading that investigation and has less than 60 days to complete it, according to the senior Army officials.
Gen. Dahl has yet to interview Sgt. Bergdahl, a senior official said.