Sgt. Bergdahl’s hopes of a pardon vanished on Friday as former President Obama handed off the reins of power to President Trump. Despite commuting Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning, the Obama administration refused to respond to Bergdahl’s request, according to his legal team.
In the summer of 2009, Bowe Bergdahl, according to soldiers in his unit, dropped his gear and weapon and quietly walked away from his post where he was assigned guard duty. After he was reported missing his unit began a concerted effort to search for him. During these operations to find him, six soldiers were subsequently killed. Meanwhile, Bergdahl was quickly captured by Taliban fighters, though the truth of what transpired once he deserted his post remains elusive.
What is clear is that once captured, the Taliban demanded $1 million dollars and the release of more than 20 Afghan prisoners held in Gitmo. These demands were reduced as the years passed and the Taliban continued to release videos and provide proof of life to Bergdahl’s parents, no doubt in hopes that their demands would eventually be met. Their persistence paid off.
Just a month shy of his fifth year in captivity, Bergdahl was released, being handed off to US Special Operations, in exchange for five members of the Taliban. Shortly thereafter, President Obama held a news conference at the White House Rose Garden with Bowe’s elated parents, Jan and Bob. The reaction on the Hill was negative, to say the least, with GOP congressmen questioning the President’s judgement and still others whether the swap was even legal.