U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl has a new lawyer to defend him as the Army investigates the circumstances surrounding his kidnapping by the Taliban in 2009. And the former hostage wants President Obama to know that he is grateful the U.S. government traded five Taliban commanders in exchange for his release in May.
“Sergeant Bergdahl is deeply grateful to President Obama for saving his life,” Bergdahl’s new lead counsel Eugene Fidell told The Daily Beast in an interview Wednesday, adding that the former Taliban prisoner had personally authorized him to say that.
Fidell met personally with Bergdahl last week at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, where Bergdahl was returned to active duty this week. Bergdahl has been assigned an office job at the headquarters of U.S. Army North, having completed a reintegration and therapy process at the medical facility there.
Fidell declined to characterize Bergdahl’s health or state of mind, saying that was confidential client information. But the lawyer did say that Bergdahl was living in regular Army housing with other soldiers.
“The Army, which has done much more poking and prodding with him over a much larger period of time, concluded he was in a position where he could be put in duty status and that’s where they have him as of Monday,” he said. “My understanding is he is in quarters appropriate to his pay grade along with other personnel in full duty status.”