Video – CNN
Former Army Sgt. Evan Buetow was the team leader with Bowe Bergdah lthe night Bergdahl disappeared.
“Bergdahl is a deserter, and he’s not a hero,” says Buetow. “He needs to answer for what he did.” Within days of his disappearance, says Buetow, teams monitoring radio chatter and cell phone communications intercepted an alarming message: The American is in Yahya Khel (a village two miles away). He’s looking for someone who speaks English so he can talk to the Taliban. “I heard it straight from the interpreter’s lips as he heard it over the radio,” said Buetow. “There’s a lot more to this story than a soldier walking away.” The Army will review the case of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl “in a comprehensive, coordinated effort,” Secretary of the Army John McHugh said Tuesday. The review will include speaking with Bergdahl “to better learn from him the circumstances of his disappearance and captivity,” he said.
The night Bergdahl disappeared, says Buetow, the platoon was at a small outpost, consisting of two bunkers and a perimeter of military trucks. Buetow was in one of the bunkers, and Bergdahl was supposed to be in a tent by one of the trucks. Then a call came through on the radio. “I’ll never forget that line, ‘Has anyone seen Bergdahl?’” says Buetow. Firsthand accounts from soldiers in his platoon say Bergdahl disappeared while he was on guard duty. Buetow says Bergdahl was about to go on guard duty, but when a fellow soldier went to wake him, he was not in his tent. He had left behind his weapons, his bullet-proof vest, and night vision gear. “I immediately knew, I said, ‘He walked away. He walked away,’” said Buetow.
Bergdahl walked off the observation post with nothing more than a compass, a knife, water, a digital camera and a diary, according to firsthand accounts from soldiers in his platoon. Buetow was involved in the immediate search for Bergdahl, pushing a patrol into a nearby local village. “Immediately as we left the base, two small boys walked up to us, and they told us that they saw an American crawling in the weeds by himself,” said the former Army sergeant. The search followed that lead, and others, for months. “For 60 days or more, I remember, just straight, all we did was search for Bergdahl,” said Buetow, “essentially chasing a ghost because we never came up with anything.”
At least six soldiers were killed in subsequent searches for him, according to soldiers involved in those operations. The Pentagon was not able to provide details on specific operations in which any soldiers were killed during that time were involved. Buetow says even though those operations were not “directed missions” to search for Bergdahl, there was an underlying premise of acting on intelligence to find the missing soldier. “The fact of the matter is, when those soldiers were killed, they would not have been where they were at if Bergdahl hadn’t left,” says Buetow. “Bergdahl leaving changed the mission.” Many soldiers in Bergdahl’s platoon said attacks seemed to increase against the United States in Paktika province in the days and weeks following his disappearance. “Following his disappearance, IEDs started going off directly under the trucks. They were getting perfect hits every time. Their ambushes were very calculated, very methodical,” said Buetow.
It was “very suspicious,” says Buetow, noting that Bergdahl knew sensitive information about the movement of U.S. trucks, the weaponry on those trucks, and how soldiers would react to attacks. “We were incredibly worried” that Bergdahl was giving up information, either under torture, or otherwise, says Buetow. President Barack Obama said Tuesday that no matter what the circumstances of an American soldier’s capture, the United States has a duty to get him or her back. “It’s great that he’s back and that we can have that very small victory, if you can even call it a victory. Because I believe what we gave up for that – we gave up a lot for what we got back,” says Buetow.
Leaked Cable Describes The Mad Scramble To Find Former POW Bowe Bergdahl When He Walked Off
A field report made public through Wikileaks’ Afghan War Diaries disclosures provides a raw account of the first hours of the search for then-private Bowe Bergdahl, and includes initial Taliban and U.S. accounts of his behavior the night he was captured.
“Geronimo reported a B Cohe did not show up for the 0900 morning roll call , grid 42SVB 59236 47877 Yahya Khail District, Paktika. A was ordered,” the report begins, noting that “all remaining units had reported 100% accountability.” Forty minutes later, “Pathfinder and team arrived at Mest OP in support,” and the search was on.
Searchers first verified that Bergdahl was in fact off-post:
“vehicles, latrines, bunders, and ANP facilities are to be searched. Both in Mest and Sharan.” Aircraft were soon mobilized when it was clear what the searchers were up against: “Also have reaper, shadow, predator, guardrail, AWT, and CAS enroute to assist in the search.”
Soon, low-level voice intercept (LLVI) yielded a cryptic glimpse into Bergdahl’s actions the hours before his capture. An American soldier with a camera had reportedly been wandering around off-base, behaving suspiciously:6597 3366 that states…that an American soldier is talking and looking for someone who speaks English. Indicates American soldier has a camera.
On July 1st, a day after Bergdahl’s disappearance, LLVI picked up Taliban members talking about the Army private’s capture. Their account suggests that Bergdahl was unarmed, and captured in a somewhat vulnerable position:
“1- We were attacking the post he was sitting taking expletive he had no gun with him. He was taking expletive, he has not cleaned his butt yet. 2- What [shame] for them.”
The Taliban militants even seemed surprised at the scope of the search:
” 2-Yes look they have all Americans, [1- I think he is big shot that why they are looking for him. 3-You guys make a video of him and announce it all over Afghanistan that we have one of the Americans. 1- .”
Two days after Bergdahl’s capture, the Taliban communicated their terms of release, and American forces were assured that the captured soldier was alive:
“The Elders were asked by the Taliban to a Trade between the U.S. and Taliban. The Taliban [terms] are 15 of their Taliban Brothers in.S. Jail and some money in exchange for PVT Bergdahl. The Elders assured me that is alive and that he is not being harmed.”
It would be another five years before the U.S. authorized a prisoner swap, exchanging five high-value Guantanamo Bay detainees for Bergdahl’s freedom.
Note: Now that these 5 top terrorists are in Qatar they won’t be needing money – they’ll have it in abundance. And how many of our troops were killed and wounded finding and capturing each one of them?
Classified Leaked document – they initially appeared to believe the deserter was kidnapped: