Bergdahl doctors say he was tortured, beaten
A strategic leak by a "senior US official" confirmed to several news organizations that doctors treating Bowe Bergdahl say he was tortured and beaten by his captors.
There was no leak about whether Bergdahl admitted deserting or collaborating with the enemy.
Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was physically abused during his five years in Taliban captivity and is suffering from psychological trauma, a senior U.S. official told CNN on Friday.
The information bolstered the White House argument that President Barack Obama needed to move quickly to secure Bergdahl's release in a May 31 exchange for five Taliban figures held at Guantanamo Bay.
According to the official, who spoke on condition of not being identified, Bergdahl tried to escape at one point but got caught, and his captors then confined him in small enclosure described as a cage or box.
At an American military hospital in Germany where he was taken after his handover near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, doctors said Friday he remained in stable condition and continued to improve, but wasn't ready to travel back to the United States."There is no predetermined time line for Sgt. Bergdahl's recovery process," said a statement by the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. "The duration will continue to be based on the pace of his healing and reintegration process."
When he is ready, Bergdahl will be flown to the San Antonio Military Medical Complex in Texas, where he might be able to reunite with his parents for the first time. Bergdahl has yet to speak with them since his release.
According to military officials familiar with the process of reintegrating longtime captives, the first meeting with family or loved ones can often be the most overwhelming moment of the entire transition to freedom.
An initial family visit lasts only minutes due to the intensity and emotional overload for the former captive, the officials said.
Earlier, the Obama administration and Pentagon implored the American public and media not to prejudge Bergdahl as questions and criticism swirled around the secret swap.
National Security Adviser Susan Rice told CNN in an interview that Bergdahl was being prematurely condemned after members of his unit in Afghanistan said he deserted.
Was Bergdahl beaten before or after he played soccer, converted to Islam, became a "warrior for Islam," and participated in target practice with his captors? In the summer of 2010. he managed to escape for 5 days, according to the Eclipse Group reports. Was it after that futile break for freedom that the mistreatment began?
I was fully expecting the WH to play the torture card at some point. They are desperate to generate sympathy for Bergdahl. That doesn't mean the torture didn't happen. But we're far beyond truth or fiction in this story as it has become purely a political struggle and the administration has to find a way to flip the playing field.
The White House may be preparing the ground for a presidential pardon, or even a refusal to prosecute Bergdahl. One way or another, it is looking more and more like Sgt. Bergdahl will not suffer the consequences for any wrongdoing he may have committed while in uniform.