From IJReview: A new report suggests that in 2009, NCIS had evidence that Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was “going over to the other side with a deliberate plan.”
The information was revealed by Lt. Col. (Ret) Tony Shaffer on “The O’Reilly Factor,” Monday night. Shaffer, the man who broke the story that Bergdahl would face desertion charges, told host Bill O’Reilly that he received the news from two senior intelligence officials on the condition of anonymity:
“He was going to go off to Uzbekistan. He had made contact with local Afghans and wanted to be moved to Uzbekistan and then made contact with the Russians because he wanted to talk to Russian organized crime …”
Shaffer also revealed that, according to his sources, Bergdahl had made contact with Afghan officials to help “lay the groundwork” for his eventual desertion.
In an interview with IJ Review, Shaffer said:
“There is no doubt, with the current evidence on the table, that President Obama’s trade of the five Taliban senior leaders for Bergdahl’s return was not only ill-conceived, it has done real damage to our national security and that of Afghanistan. The question now becomes ‘how much did the White House know’ about the facts regarding Bergdahl in advance of making the flawed deal.”
This new revelation raises the stakes with regard to the severity of the charges against Bergdahl. What appeared to be desertion could be construed as treason.
Treason is defined as:
Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.
When asked by IJReview if Bergdahl’s behavior will be considered treason if the 2009 investigation proves true, Shafer responded, “If you go by that definition, the answer is yes.”
However, Shaffer confirmed that because of the unique nature of the Afghan campaign, the desertion charges against Begdahl may not reach new levels of severity.
“The Article 32 hearing should help define the the severity of the desertion charge,” he said. “Because the Afghanistan Conflict is NOT a declared war, the desertion charge will not be as severe as had it been a declared war.”