U.S. News


U.S. Army Denies Bergdahl Desertion Charge Report

Despite reports from NBC and Fox News, the U.S. Army says it hasn't reached a decision on disciplining Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.
Posted at 1:56 PM, Jan 27, 2015

The U.S. Army is denying a report Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl will be charged with desertion. 

Bergdahl was held by the Taliban in Afghanistan before the U.S. traded his release for five Taliban prisoners. (Video Via U.S. Army)

The report, now denied, came first from NBC, which cited the information coming from anonymous "senior defense officials." 

"According to officials, on the night Bergdahl walked away from his post, he was scheduled to walk guard duty at that remote outpost at dawn," MSNBC correspondent Jim Miklaszewski reported. 

But the Army says those reports are false, calling a Fox News report echoing NBC's "speculative in nature" and saying "no decision's been made."

Since his release, Bergdahl faced accusations he abandoned his post in 2009. 

The Taliban captured Bergdahl in June 2009 after he reportedly left his base in Afghanistan. (Video via CNN)

In May 2014, the Obama administration freed the five Taliban detainees held at Guantanamo in exchange for Bergdahl's release. (Video via The White House)

Article 85 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice defines desertion as any member of the armed forces who leaves his or her unit or place of duty with the intent of never returning without authorization. It also includes leaving a unit as a way to avoid "hazardous duty or to shirk important service."

The Manual for Courts-Martial United States says the maximum punishment for "desertion with intent to avoid hazardous duty includes dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances and confinement for five years."

Bergdahl's attorney hasn't made any official comments. The Army says the investigation into the sergeant's disappearance is ongoing, with no timeline for a decision.