It seems that once again Fox News has managed to scoop the other major news outlets. On Monday night’s episode of the O’Reilly Factor retired Lt. Col. Tony Schaffer let it slip to Bill O’Reilly that the Army had charged Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl with desertion.
It came out during a discussion between O’Reilly and Shaffer over the apparent tug-of-war that was taking place between the Obama Administration and the Army leadership about HOW (and WHEN) to announce that the Army had indeed charged Bergdahl.
O’Reilly: Of course they don’t want it. Look, the White House can’t tell the Army not to charge him with desertion. If what you say is true, they’re going to charge him with desertion.
Shaffer: He has been– he has been charged.
Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was held captive by enemy forces in Afghanistan for five years, will likely be charged with desertion, senior defense officials tell NBC News.
The officials point out that Bergdahl will likely face a lesser charge of desertion described in the Uniform Code of Military Justice as leaving a post to avoid duty or shirk an important assignment, based on his actions when he left a remote outpost in June 2009.
Those charges carry a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison upon conviction, but sources tell NBC News the Army is considering crediting Bergdahl for the 5 years he spent in captivity and be given the opportunity to avoid prosecution by leaving the Army with a “less than honorable discharge.”
BREAKING: Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl will be charged with desertion for abandoning his post in 2009, senior defense officials tell NBC News
— NBC Nightly News (@NBCNightlyNews) January 27, 2015
UPDATE: The Defense Department released a statement on Wednesday saying that no charges had yet been brought against Bergdahl.
Rear Adm. John Kirby: There has been lots of speculation about — we have gotten lots of emails and questions today about the state of the case of Sgt. Bergdahl, so let me just put a fork in this now if I can.
No decision has been made with respect to the case of Sgt. Bergdahl, none, there is no timeline to make that decision, and General [Mark] Milley is not being put under any pressure to make such a decision… There is a process here… Sgt. Bergdahl has not been charged with any crime.
Question: Just to clarify, he has not been charged at this point?
Kirby: Sgt. Bergdahl has not been charged with any crime.
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