Agents: Bergdahl Debriefs Were Intelligence 'Gold Mine'

Soldier charged with desertion helped military better understand insurgents
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 31, 2017 2:14 PM CDT
Agents: Bergdahl Debriefs Were Intelligence 'Gold Mine'
In this Jan. 12, 2016 file photo, Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl arrives for a pretrial hearing at Fort Bragg, N.C.   (AP Photo/Ted Richardson, File)

Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was a "gold mine" of intelligence, helping the military better understand insurgents and how they imprison the enemy, two agents testified Tuesday as defense attorneys sought to show the soldier's contributions since he was returned in a prisoner swap. The AP reports the testimony runs counterpoint to the case prosecutors presented at Bergdahl's sentencing hearing, calling on severely wounded soldiers to offer gripping testimony about the injuries that troops suffered while searching for Bergdahl after he walked off his post in Afghanistan in 2009. Bergdahl, who pleaded guilty to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy, testified Monday and apologized to the wounded. He faces up to life in prison. The military judge hearing the case has wide leeway in deciding Bergdahl's punishment.

Amber Dach, who spent 16 years in military intelligence, described how eager he was to help intelligence officials at a hospital in Germany days after he was returned to US authorities. He helped authorities and even drew diagrams in his downtime to bring to his next debriefing session. An official from the military agency that helps reintegrate former captives and develops survival training for service members testified that information Bergdahl provided him was invaluable. Terrence Russell, a division chief for the Joint Personnel Recovery Agency, developed a 1,200-page transcript from debriefing Bergdahl that was turned into a database. The information produced reports on tactics used by insurgents and hostage-takers in the region that are still used by the military. Russell said he'd like to learn even more from Bergdahl but the soldier's legal case has impeded that.

(More Bowe Bergdahl stories.)

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