Republicans and their talking heads have openly been portraying Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl as a traitor and a Nick Brody in training ever since President Obama made the deal to free him from captivity. The attacks have been relentless and have even his reached into his father's life as well.
Senator Angus King told CNN that if word had been leaked out on the Bergdahl deal he may have been killed.
The Obama administration had reason to believe that U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's life would have been in serious danger had negotiations for his release become public before the exchange on Saturday, according to Sen. Angus King (I-Maine).
"They had intelligence that, had even the fact of these discussions leaked out, there was a reasonable chance Bowe Bergdahl would have been killed," King told CNN's Kate Bolduan on Thursday. "And that was one of the pieces of information that we learned yesterday that gave it some credence in terms of why it had to be kept quiet so long."
In a closed-door, classified briefing on Wednesday, senators viewed a “proof of life” video taken of Bergdahl in captivity and questioned administration officials on the merits and legality of the exchange, which included five senior Taliban leaders.Reaction to the video was mixed. Some senators, including King, said Bergdahl appeared sickly.
"He looked terrible," King told CNN. "And I think that video should be released at some point. He could barely talk. He couldn't focus his eyes. He was downcast. He was thin. He looked like a man -- I looked around the room, as that video was shown, and I think it was clearly effective. And when the video stopped -- it wasn't very long, maybe 30 seconds -- there was a dead silence in the room."
“It did not look good,” Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) said after the hearing, as quoted by The Washington Post. “I would definitely think that it would have had an emotional impact on the president when he saw it.”
But in another report from The Daily Beast we find out that Bergdahl not only tried to escape once, but twice while being held as a prisoner. That doesn't sound like someone who had abandoned his country and joined the Taliban.
↓ Story continues below ↓
The Pentagon rejected the idea of a rescue mission for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl because he was being moved so often by his Taliban captors that U.S. special operators would have had to hit up to a dozen possible hideouts inside Pakistan at once in order to have a chance at rescuing him.
Bergdahl had also twice tried to escape, so the militants guarding him had stepped up their numbers, further complicating any potential rescue attempt.
“A rescue mission would have been fraught politically as well as tactically,” according to a senior defense official briefed on the Bergdahl case.
That doesn't sound like the kind of a cozy relationship one has with his friends that Fox News has been trying to portray.
In his first escape, Afghan sources said he avoided capture for three days and two nights before searches finally found him, exhausted and hiding in a shallow trench he had dug with his own hands and covered with leaves.
In his second bid for freedom, which has not been previously reported, Bergdahl made it to a remote village in the mountainous part of Pakistan, the former Afghan official said. The villagers simply returned him to his captors in the Haqqani Network. The U.S. officials were not familiar with details of the second escape attempt, though they knew Bergdahl had briefly slipped away from his captors.
Fox News' James Rosen took some of the same information and made sure it fit into the Roger Ailes mold of journalism: EXCLUSIVE: Bergdahl declared jihad in captivity, secret documents show
U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl at one point during his captivity converted to Islam, fraternized openly with his captors and declared himself a "mujahid," or warrior for Islam, according to secret documents prepared on the basis of a purported eyewitness account and obtained by Fox News.
The reports indicate that Bergdahl's relations with his Haqqani captors morphed over time, from periods of hostility, where he was treated very much like a hostage, to periods where, as one source told Fox News, "he became much more of an accepted fellow" than is popularly understood. He even reportedly was allowed to carry a gun at times.
Rosen frames the escape attempts as just part of his conversion. Listen, I have no idea what happened to Sgt. Bergdahl or his state of mind, but wouldn't you say you've converted to Islam, fraternized with the enemy just to try and survive over there? Either way what they are doing to this man is out of bounds on so many levels. I'd say he's been hurt enough by a frakked up war and should not be tortured by the conservative media until the military has their say.
This is a message to all troops fighting in wars: Republicans admire your service to the country until they can exploit it for political purposes.