Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has reached out to a civilian attorney, though he has not yet been advised of his rights or spoken with Army investigators.
Sergeant Bergdahl, who at the end of May was released as part of a controversial prisoner exchange, remains under investigation for the circumstances surrounding his capture by the Taliban five years ago. But he is free to leave the base where he is currently assigned and is not under any restrictions in his movement.
“He’s an active-duty Army soldier, and just like any active-duty soldier, he’s free to leave base,” Rear Adm. John Kirby, Pentagon press secretary, said Tuesday.
Even so, Bergdahl has retained Eugene Fidell, who teaches military justice at Yale Law School in New Haven, Conn., to be his lawyer.
Mr. Fidell has been a full-time lecturer at Yale for the past five years, and he served in the US Coast Guard. He is the co-founder of the National Institute of Military Justice and heads the committee on military justice for the International Society for Military Law and the Law of War.
While investigators have not yet spoken with Bergdahl, that is expected to happen “sometime in the near future,” says Wayne Hall, a spokesman for the Army.
The investigation into Bergdahl’s disappearance was launched on June 16, and investigators generally have 60 days to complete their work. The probe is being led by Maj. Gen. Kenneth Dahl, who is now a deputy commanding general at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington State.
Major General Dahl served as a commander in Afghanistan and has a master’s degree in social psychology.
Bergdahl has not yet been advised of his rights. “At this point, he has done nothing to warrant having his rights read to him,” Mr. Hall says.
He will be advised of his rights as part of the formal process of the investigation, when he meets with Dahl.
In the meantime, Bergdahl has completed the final phase of his reintegration after captivity and has returned “to regular duty,” according to an Army statement.
US military officials declined to comment on reports that he has refused to speak to his parents since being released from captivity on May 31, citing “respect for his family, and his privacy wishes.”
In his new job, Bergdahl “will be doing some administrative tasks within the headquarters,” says Don Manuszewski, a spokesman at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston. “He’s currently going through in-processing, similar to when anybody else goes to a new job or new location, so he can start working and really get after it.”
The other soldiers are accepting him back into the fold, Mr. Manuszewski says.
“We expect everybody that’s assigned to this command – or Army-wide – to be treated with dignity and respect,” he adds. “We just are soldiers, and he is part of the Army family – and we expect them to treat him that way.”