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POLITICS: PennAve

Army to investigate Bowe Bergdahl's disappearance

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Politics,White House,Brian Hughes,Barack Obama,Army,Afghanistan,National Security,PennAve,Guantanamo Bay,Martin Dempsey,Bowe Bergdahl

The U.S. Army said Tuesday it would launch another investigation into the disappearance of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl once officials are more confident in his health.

“Our first priority is ensuring Sgt. Bergdahl's health and beginning his reintegration process. There is no timeline for this, and we will take as long as medically necessary to aid his recovery,” said Secretary of the Army John McHugh.

“The Army will then review this in a comprehensive, coordinated effort that will include speaking with Sgt. Bergdahl to better learn from him the circumstances of his disappearance and captivity,” he added. “All other decisions will be made thereafter, and in accordance with appropriate regulations, policies and practices."

The Obama administration has come under fire for agreeing to trade five Guantanamo Bay prisoners for Bergdahl, who is believed to have willingly left his unit in Afghanistan five years ago.

Congressional aides said Tuesday that the administration last briefed them on a possible deal for Bergdahl in January 2012. Under law, the administration is required to give lawmakers 30 days advance notice of a potential Gitmo transfer.

White House officials called their failure to follow the statute an "oversight."

Earlier Tuesday, President Obama defended his decision, which Republicans are framing as another attempt by the president to circumvent Congress.

“We have consulted with Congress for quite some time about the possibility that we might need to execute a prisoner exchange in order to recover Sergeant Bergdahl,” he said during a news conference in Poland. “We saw an opportunity. We were concerned about Sgt. Bergdahl’s health.”

Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, left open the possibility Tuesday that the Army could pursue charges against Bergdahl. However, Obama said his administration was not yet exploring that option.

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Brian Hughes

White House Correspondent
The Washington Examiner