Bowe Bergdahl, the U.S. Army soldier who disappeared from his post in Afghanistan in 2009 and became the central figure of a roiling political controversy when President Obama traded five Taliban prisoners to get him back, has been described by a military investigator as delusional.
The New York Times reports Lt. Gen. Kenneth Dahl, the Army’s investigating officer, found the soldier to be sincere, but with distorted views of his role in the military. Bergdahl, now aged 29, identified with fictional characters, including Jason Bourne, a spy movie character, and John Galt, a character created by conservative hero Ayn Rand who in her novel, Atlas Shrugged, disappears from society to prove a point.
The Times reports Bergdahl left his outpost to purposely create a crisis. He wanted to hike to another base, 18 miles away, where he could speak to an Army commander and outline what he believed to be grave problems with the leadership at his own base, which he felt put his unit in danger.
Bergdahl also made the autonomous decision to try and spy on the Taliban once he slipped off his base.
Bergdahl faces life imprisonment if convicted of the charge of misbehavior before the enemy. When he left his base, he was captured by the Taliban, imprisoned and tortured for three years. Fellow soldiers searched for Bergdahl for more than a month after his disappearance.
President Obama’s controversial decision to swap Bergdahl for five prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay has resulted in Bergdahl’s case becoming heavily politicized. GOP presidential candidates have weighed in on it, with front runner Donald Trump saying Bergdahl should be executed.