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No lawyer yet for Bergdahl even though probe underway

By Laura Koran, CNN
updated 6:52 PM EDT, Tue July 1, 2014
  • Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is being reintegrated into normal life at a base in Texas
  • Army investigators haven't yet begun to question him
  • Some members of his old unit said he deserted before being captured in Afghanistan

(CNN) -- Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl does not yet have a lawyer or been informed of his legal rights even though the Army has begun its investigation of circumstances surrounding his 2009 disappearance in Afghanistan.

Senior military officials said Wednesday investigators have not begun questioning Bergdahl, who was captured and held for five years before militants released him last month in exchange for five Taliban commanders held by the United States.

He is undergoing reintegration at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston in Texas. That process is designed to gradually reintroduce him to normal life.

While the Army's investigation into Bergdahl's disappearance only covers the events leading up to his capture, the reintegration debriefings focus on the days and years that follow.

"We have no reason to believe that he engaged in any misconduct during that period of time," said one of the officials, referring to his time in captivity. "That's why he hasn't been read his rights."

But, the officials added that if Bergdahl says something incriminating during his debriefings, the process would be halted so he could be informed of his rights.

One confirmed that he does not yet have a lawyer, but has not been interviewed by investigators either. Though, anything he says during the reintegration process could be used against him in future disciplinary proceedings.

Several former members of Bergdahl's unit allege he deserted his post before being captured, endangering his comrades.

Maj. Gen. Kenneth Dahl is leading the formal Berghdal probe by the Army, which began on June 16. It must be completed within 60 days.

Dahl will review the findings of a previous investigation conducted just after Bergdahl went missing from his post. The two-star general can also ask to re-interview anyone he believes can shine light on the case.

Interviewing Bergdahl, said one official, would likely be the last step in the investigation.

Separately, Bergdahl has received his military salary since he was returned from captivity, and will continue to do so as long as he remains in the Army.

He is also entitled to the pay that accrued during his years in captivity as long as there is no finding that he deserted or gone absent without leave.

Neither official would say how much Bergdahl is earning, other than to say it's consistent with his rank and years of service.

According to the Army's website, an E-5 classified Sergeant with six years of service would receive $32,814 in basic pay, though he could be eligible for additional compensation.

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