Will Bergdahl Pull a Lois Lerner?
Sergeant Bergdahl will soon be facing serious and potentially incriminating questions about his Taliban adventure. Article 31 of our Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) prohibits “coercive self-incrimination” as a right under the Fifth Amendment. Perhaps a “dream team” of ACLU legal eagles is already being assembled to try to keep Bergdahl out of jail. What defense will be mounted will depend on what, if any, charges the Office of the Judge Advocate General believes can be made to stick.
Here are some questions that Americans must be wondering about. Whether Bergdahl will provide answers or pull a Lois Lerner instead remains to be seen.
1. Secretary Hagel has characterized you as a “prisoner of war.” A POW is permitted to provide his captors only “name, rank and serial number” information. Did you divulge more than that?
2. It has been reported that you left behind a note for your fellow soldiers giving reasons why you were leaving. Explain the meaning of that note.
3. It has also been reported that you left the base without your weapon and body armor. Explain why you did that.
4. Did you take with you any sensitive materials upon leaving the base? If so, what information did you take with you and what happened to it?
5. It has been reported that the effectiveness of Taliban operations against U.S. forces improved soon after your capture. Was that in any way related to assistance you provided, tactical or strategic?
6. Did you divulge any information related to U.S. combat operations? Did you, for instance, compile a training manual detailing how U.S. forces operate in Afghanistan?
7. Did you participate in any operations against U.S. forces, even as an observer?
8. Did you divulge the names of any of your fellow soldiers and officers, along with their responsibilities?
9. Did you at any time try to escape? If not, why not?
10. Do you regret any of your actions? If so, which specifically?