[Ed. – This revelation raises several other questions. One is whether the military should have had him on a shorter tether.]
A U.S. military investigation of Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl’s capture by the Taliban found he had slipped away from his unit before but had always returned, raising questions about whether or not he was deserting when he disappeared in 2009, people familiar with the findings said on Thursday.
Bergdahl, 28, was freed after five years as an Afghanistan war prisoner on Saturday when the Obama administration agreed to release five Taliban leaders from Guantanamo prison in exchange, a deal that touched off a firestorm of criticism.
Some soldiers who served in Afghanistan have accused Bergdahl of deserting from his remote outpost in the eastern region of the country on June 30, 2009, but the Pentagon has said publicly that the circumstances were unclear.
The people familiar with classified findings said investigators learned that Bergdahl, who was broadly portrayed as dissatisfied with the deployment in Afghanistan, had slipped away in the past, only to return a short while later. He did this once while undergoing military training in California, the sources said on condition of anonymity.