tv Erin Burnett Out Front CNN June 2, 2014 4:00pm-5:01pm PDT
>> join us tomorrow for another edition of cross fire. erin burnett "out front" starts right now. next the release of america's only known prisoner of war. new details about how the operation went down. but was it worth the right. and a fellow soldier who served with bergdahl says he's not a hero, he's a deserter. a and the search for flight 370. the one thing investigators thought was certain is false, totally not true. let's go "out front." good evening, everyone, i'm erin burnett, sergeant bowe
bergdahl is free. but at what cost. at this hour, bergdahl at a military hospital in landstuhl germany. that trust broken by his captors who eventually swapped him for five taliban leaders who were being held at guantanamo bay. tonight, all the angles of this developing story and those crucial questions was the prisoner swap worth the risk to america? and should the president have informed congress about the operation to free bergdahl. the top senator tells cnn, yes. and this question, was bergdahl a traitor who abandoned his post. nick, what can you tell us about his condition? i mean physically and mentally? >> reporter: yeah, we're getting few specific details. what we're being told is that he
is in stable condition, that his condition, however, requires hospitalization, it's getting special focus on his diet and his nutrition, they say this is because of the way that he's essentially been fed over those five years in captivity. so concern got his physical health, his mental welfare is being treated. this is what they call a reintegration program. so the idea is to allow him to feel that he can control things in his life, for example, he can decide what he wants to do this afternoon. he can decide, if you will, what he'll have to eat because he's back in control of his life, unlike in captivity, you and i are used to having control over our lives, for five years, he hasn't had that over his, and another part of what's going on with him, military wants to find out does he have any information, actionable int intelligence that could be useful in the fight against the taliban. a reminder the fight with the
taliban is still deadly. also lessons learned, anything he learned in captive that could be useful to his fellow sold years. doctors say the pace of recovery is up to him and they'll wait for him to feel that he's making that level of progress that he can go back to the united states. >> all right, nick, thank you very much. pretty incredible just to imagine when you say that, not to be able to think about having control over your own life like what to eat or what to do this afternoon. qatary officials say -- we are learning new details of that deal, of course where qatar negotiated with the taliban and the harrowing hours that led up to bergdahl's freedom. barbara starr reports from the pentagon tonight. >> reporter: after five years, a
taliban captive. >> release me, please, i'm begging you. bring me home. >> reporter: sergeant bowe bergdahl is finally heading home. cnn has learned details of the secret choreography for the u.s. commando operation to get bergdahl that had been quickly worked out between the u.s. and the taliban. in the final hours, an extraordinary move. a u.s. official tells cnn the taliban communicated directly with the american special operations forces team t coordinates where they could pick bergdahl up, they would release him after being assured that five taliban at guantanamo bay that the five taliban were being released there. in the end, with helicopter gun ships flying nearby, one u.s. helicopter landed, the armed americans faced 18 armed taliban
and bergdahl. he walked to them, they searched him for weapons and explosives and quickly got him on the chopper. once on the noise helicopter, bergdahl wrote down the letters sf and a question mark on a paper place, asking the men if they were special forces, over the noise of the rotors, they answered yes, we've been looking for you for a long time. at that point, bergdahl broke down crying, after that the five taliban prisoners released from gitmo. they include a senior taliban commander who was allegedly directly associated with [ booing ] . a man u.s. intelligence was second in command in the taliban's intelligence service, also with ties to al qaeda. and another taliban official wanted by the united nations in connection with the massacre of thousands of afghan shiites.
the same men that director of national intelligence james clapper has warned congress about. >> i don't think anyone harbors any illusions about these five taliban members and what they might do if they were transferred. >> military officials now say they need to hear from bergdahl directly about everything that happened and then they will decide if he should face military discipline. >> barbara, thank you very much. admiral john kirby, thank you very much for being with us, everyone's been talking about this, there's a policy, the u.s. does not associate with terrorists, but bergdahl was believed to be held by -- which is affiliated with the taliban and al qaeda, all three of those groups are terrorist organizations, according to to the united states. i guess the question is, even if another country, qatar brokered
the deal. so isn't that negotiating with terrorists? >> i don't think it is, erin, i mean this wasn't negotiations directly with the taliban. this was negotiated by the government of qatar, we're grateful for that, and more importantly, we're grateful to have sergeant bergdahl back. >> the detainees are in qatar, a country which has been known to harbor people with mal intent toward the united states. they're going to be banned from traveling outside qatar for one year. what happens after that year, though? >> i can just tell you that again, a lot of careful thought was put into this. i mean nobody entered into this agreement lightly or without seriously considering the national security interests of the united states. and again, secretary hagel would never have signed off on this if he didn't believe that this transfer was in the best
interests of national security. and also to help again secure the freedom of sergeant bergdahl. >> i want to ask you about sergeant bergdahl. because as you know, there were a lot of questions raised. the state department spokeswoman weighed in on this and here's how she character triszed it. >> we would characterize him as a member of the military who was detained while in combat. >> very carefully chosen words. did bergdahl dessert his post? >> the truth is, erin, we're not completely sure about the circumstances under which he disappeared and was held captive. as you know, the army investigated this right away, that investigation technically still open because the prime witness is somebody we haven't been able to talk to for five years. so we really don't know why he left that base, and under what circumstances. and of course i think over time, those kinds of facts and those
kinds of details will come out. the army didn't classify him as a deserter, he was listed as missing and presumed captured and of course then we eventually found out that he was in fact captured. he remains a sergeant in the army of the united states on active duty, in fact he is scheduled for yet another promotion coming up very soon. and our focus right now is really on his health and well-being, getting him reintegrated back into the army, into his military family and of course eventually reuniting him with his family. >> it's impossible to imagine what he would have endured. if it does, if your investigation determines that it was desertion, would you have any regrets about the prisoner exchange, if it turns out he was desserting? >> let me tell you something.
there's a pact when you join the military, it's often unspoken. i don't know that it's written or codified. but if you're taken cannive, we' we're going to do all we can to get you back. it doesn't matter the circumstances around you being taken captive. it doesn't matter, if you're held captive by forces that we're at war with, we're going to do all we can to get you back, that's an obligation that we have, all the people that put this uniform are expect from the military and all those that are in the military expect that we'll do for one another. that's the bottom line, and that's of course what we have done, we never lost sight, we never lost focus, we never forget sergeant bergdahl. getting a prisoner of war as he was back inside of the ranks of the military through diplomatic means as a vast presence in our
military history and it's just a another means and another example of how serious we take that obligation. now for our next bowe bergdahl heading home, but at what cost to america's safety. plus a soldier who served with bergdahl is out front night, he says he's a deserter, not a hero. he'll tell us what what happened that night the way he saw it. [ male announcer ] "west" didn't end where columbus landed. not on the banks of the mississippi, or even the coast of california. the new ram 1500 ecodiesel. with 9,200 pounds of towing and 28 highway miles per gallon. west will never end. guts. glory. ram. cut! [bell rings] this...is jane. her long day on set starts with shoulder pain...
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u.s. officials agreed to give up five taliban officials in exchange for bowe bergdahl. they are all described as mid to high level taliban officials. they were released to qatar, subject to qatari government supervision. did they do the right thing or did they do what the u.s. government has vowed time and time again not to do, and that is negotiate with terrorists. the commanding general for u.s. special forces in afghanistan and air force official and former deputy director for training in the nsa. you actually aided in the search for bowe bergdahl, you were one
of the people out there looking for him. what happened? >> well, i think the initial effort, erin, was to find him before he was taken across the border into pakistan. because because the issue we saw with david rowe, the year before, the "new york times" correspondent, the taliban as quickly as they could took him into pakistan. so that meant pulling as much information as we could get from u.s. and allied intelligence, from afghanistan officials and signals and human collection efforts to see if we could get special operations off the ground to get him before he was taken across the border. >> so i guess the bottom line is, do you think they did the right thing, right now n terms of saying, all right, five taliban operators, mid to high level in exchange for one u.s. soldier? >> well, look, i think there's a high price for this, on the one hand, what we see across the board in north africa, the
middle east, south asia, is a kit napping military officials and civilians works because people pay in response, either through money or through prisoner swaps, the u.s. has demonstrated in this case that they will negotiate. >> colonel, is that the message the u.s. has sent, the u.s. will negotiate with terrorists and do what it takes, prisoner swap? >> we will do what it takes to get prisoners released, especially military prisoners, but in this particular case, what you're looking at is a very nuanced negotiation, what they were saying, the administration's point of view is pretty clear that the taliban, for this moment is not being considered as a terrorist group. now in -- you know, whether one agrees with that or not, the fact of the matter is they held sergeant bergdahl prisoner and they kept him, you know, in this condition for a very, very long time. and that was the response that the administration had was to go and release him. >> colonel, i'm not saying
you're speaking for them. but a lot of people might ask, if you're designated a terrorist organization, it either means something or it doesn't. how can you be a terrorist organization one day and for purposes of this, the next day not. >> the purpose is that you don't declare war, we never declared war officially against the taliban, we had a very broad procession going after all groups associated with al qaeda and we wrapped the taliban into that. that is where our doctrine, our procedures, our laws do not really keep pace with what's going on in the world so. you get into this area of double speak, and unfortunately, that's exactly what it is. it is somewhat double speak, but it does get you the results that we have today and it got us sergeant bergdahl. >> seth, tom donnell was talking about, and he said this will incentivize the taliban to take more americans.
is that crazy? >> there are incentives for a lot of mess kidnap whether it's american civilians or soldiers overseas, but again, i would say this re-enforces the argument from this group stand point that it profits to do this. so, yes, they may want to do it regardless, but this then re-enforces why they want to do it. because in response, they'll get the release of individuals. the other challenge is that these five individuals now will go to the taliban office and without a doubt will get involved in taliban strategic level efforts from qatar at least for the next year, and potentially back in country after that. >> the taliban do have an office in doha. thanks very much to you. up next, bowe bergdahl's hometown, anxiously awaiting his return in idaho. year after year, they never gave up hope.
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a father who refused to give up on seeing his son. >> reporter: there are four trees lining the playscape, symbol'sing each year bowe bergdahl spent as a prisoner of war, a fifth tree won't be needed. stephanie o'neil's family started the tribute. >> he has no idea this was done? >> he has no idea this was done. >> reporter: five years ago t banner that reads standing with bowe was put up at the coffee shop where bowe once worked, the harsh idaho conditions have weathered the banners and yellow ribbons hung around time. the ups delivery driver, watches his beard grow longer, a sign of solidarity with his son. but last night, bob bergdahl immersed himself in the mission
to save his son. his father learned the language of his son's captors in hopes of speaking to them directly, keeping his clocks on the time of day in afghanistan, but through it all, the bergdahl's knew it would be up to their son alone to endure. >> i'm so proud of your character, i'm so proud of your patience. and your perseverance, i'm so proud of your cultural abilities to adapt. your language skills. your desire and your action to serve this country. in a very difficult, long war. >> reporter: bowe bergdahl's moment has heard the anger over his release, the exchange for five taliban prisoners. his fellow soldiers described bergdahl as a traitor who left his comrades behind.
but here in idaho, none of that matters. >> i just think that everybody needs to take a little time to listen and understand the situation before they make snap judgments. >> reporter: bergdahl's family is waiting for a phone call that their son has been put on a plane. >> five years is a seemingly endless long time. but you've made it. i imagine you're more patient and compassionate than ever. i will see you soon, my beloved son. i love you, bowe. >> no matter what you think about this story, that's incredibly, emotional. it's hard not to be moved by his parents. is there any sense of when they will see their son? >> reporter: well, you know, after they did the white house ceremony in the rose garden with president obama on sunday, they flew back here to idaho and
they're actually back here in their hometown awaiting for that word as they -- bob bergdahl said yesterday, they have deliberately not spoken with their son as they wait for him to transition back into normal life if you will. so they're waiting for all those signs and until bowe bergdahl gets on that plane and flies to san antonio, and the medical facility there where he will continue with the reunification process, that's where his parents will be reunited with him and that's still several day ways. >> ed lavender are, imagine his parents waiting and not knowing, will their son be the same person they remember. still out front, is bowe bergdahl a hero or a traitor?
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army sergeant bowe bergdahl released after five years being held prisoner by the taliban. >> he served the united states with honor and distinction. >> bergdahl is now in a u.s. military hospital in germany. exchanging bowe bergdahl for five taliban officials. it is likely these men could return to terrorism. not everyone thinks bergdahl was worth that price, including some men who served with him in afghanistan in the platoon were there that night. really appreciate your taking the time, matt. you were in the same platoon, so you knew bowe, you trained with him. what was he like? >> i didn't know him on a personal level too much, mostly just a work level. but he was an introvert, kind of a loaner, mostly just kept to himself. >> he was an introvert and kept
to himself. where were you that night, on the night that he disappeared, what happened that night as far as you remember it, matt? >> i was on a machine-gun nest up on the hill pulling guard with 45 other guys and i was pretty much stuck up there all night, and found out in the morning that he was gone, his stuff was there and he had walked off. >> and what makes you think that he he walked off or that he deserted? >> well, i don't think anything and it's not a story, i'm just trying to relay the facts for everybody to know, he left his stuff his ruck and his equipment, took minimal supplies and that's all i know. >> bergdahl is still scheduled to be promoted ed td t ed td t
month, do you think they would do it if they had any proof at all that he was a deserter? >> i don't think at this point, it's real about beliefs or stories or anything like that, it's about the fact answer they do have the facts. they have plenty of sworn statements that we wrote that day and the following days and it's not only us and our platoon, our company saying it, it's other platoons, navy seals and everybody else. >> of course the others in your platoon agree with you that he did walk off. but let me ask you about something, because as you know, wikileaks had some of these intercepts they got from the taliban from that night. and one of the transcripts indicate that bergdahl was captured while sitting in a
port-a-potty or something like that. we were attacking the post, and he was taking expletive, or going to the bathroom, and he had no gun with him. when you heard that, he had no intent to walk off, he was in the bathroom or something and they came and took him? >> well, if he didn't have intend to walk off, then how did he get there to begin with? he obviously walked to that point. i don't know what his intentions were, i'm not going to speculate about that, but he obviously got to that point and they weren't attacking his position necessarily, but being alone and walking far away and then getting captured, that's pretty much on him. >> so you're saying, and make sure i understand, you're saying, as far as you're concerned, the facts are he did walk off the base, but you're not sure as to the motive, as to whether he was intending to join any other group or anything like that, that's the distinction?
>> well, the distinction is that only he knows why he did it and maybe one day we'll find out, maybe we won't. but the facts are, me and a lot of other people think that it was pretty planned, it wasn't just a spur of the moment thing, he was planning it out and then made it happen. >> matt, thank you very much. appreciate your taking the time. and you heard matt's point of view, that he believes this was preplanned, that bowe bergdahl explained and walked off that base. stephany o'neil, you just heard matt and you know his point of view, he thinks that bowe did walk off that base. he served with him, what do you make of that? >> it's really hard to sarks until bowe is able to tell his side of the story, we're just going to have to, and here in haley, idaho we're going to the leave the politics to the rest
of the world. we're just happy to have bowe back at this point. >> rolling stone magazine reported that he said if this deployment is lame, i'm just going to walk off into the mountains of pakistan. he wrote the future is too good to waste -- it's the army of liars, back stabbers, fools and bullies. obviously you can say those things and not be somebody that was going to do anything wrong or walk off of a base, but when you hear those things, how does that make you feel? >> you know, again, i'm going back to the fact that here in halle, we're leaving the politics to everybody else and we're glad to become bowelcome to us. >> ihis parents, i'm sure they wanted to go where he is right now, but obviously they have to wait to reintegrate and start that process.
they must be dieing to go see him. >> i'm sure they are. they are on cloud nine that their son is safe. it's a dream come true after four years and 11 months of not knowing how he was doing. >> do they have any idea when they might be reunited with him? >> i don't think anyone knows that at this point. the timeline is pretty unclear, which have to leave that up to the doctors and those caring for bowe at this time. >> this is someone that you knew and a family that you care a lot about. if it does turn out that he did walk off the base. politics aside, does it really matter, i think you heard the pentagon spokesperson was on the show, and he said that we don't know why he walked off that base, but it's our obligation to get him back home. will you guys care if he did
walk off the base? >> absolutely not. i absolutely agree with what the spokesperson said, bowe is an american, he is a soldier and we don't leave anyone behind. the government has done their job in getting bowe back to his family. and personally and here in haley, we love bowe and we're just glad that he's safe. >> stephany, thank you very much for coming on and telling us about bowe and his family. now with the politics and of course the race is tomorrow, the primaries, the nastiest race in america. we're going to go where people will go to the polls tomorrow to choose between a long-time incumbent and a -- >> reporter: defeating a 36-year senate veteran in your own party is not easy task. so chris mcdaniel is bringing
the conservative cavalry to mississippi. >> it's wonderful to be in the magnolia state, to just do whatever i can to hopefully help and not hurt the cause. >> sarah palin from alaska and even rick santorum, former senator from pennsylvania. >> join me in supporting chris mcdaniel. >> reporter: sources close to mcdaniel's gop opponent incyst outsiders won't convince mississippians to -- inside mississippi, this gop primary race has become just about the nastiest in the country. a conservative blogger was arrested for breaking into this nursing home to photograph cochran's ailing wife, suffering fr from -- >> our campaign had absolutely no connection with that
whatsoever. >> when did you find out about the break in. >>? we're going to focus on his record right now. >> it's politics 101, when your opponent is in trouble, don't distract from that. the car they told us the senator would leave in left without him. and he took off through another door to a different car. but a cochran source insists it was a misunderstanding and notes the senator has been talking to the media, especially in the last week, going on bus tours and sending a steady stream of pictures on his twitter feed. 76-year-old cochran argues his seniority in the senate is a plus for mississippi. but 42-year-old mcdaniel says cochran's time has passed from mississippi and the gop. >> he believes in big spending, he believes in increasing taxes, he believes in increasing his own pay, i am not that guy.
>> reporter: after a string of primary losses in election year, tea party groups nationwide have spent millions. >> they have poured their heart and soul into making you the guy who they can hang their hat on and say we're not losing this election here. that's a lot of pressure. >> it's only god sense, there's no pressure, god has a plan. still to come, a major set back in the search for flight 7 370. the man leading the search in his first u.s. television interview is next. something old, something new, something borrowed and -- that's pretty risky, you know, their heads are soft at that age, weren't they? jeanne mos is coming up. but i don't want my breathing problems to get in the way my volunteering. that's why i asked my doctor about b-r-e-o.
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juan carlos took the tloeng in 1975 and is celebrated by his strength in democracy. in recent years, his approval rating has taken a big hit. there's been a lot of scandals in the royal family. which brings me to tonight's number, 20,000, that's the estimated number of people who turned out for an anti-monarchy
rally. it's .04% of spain's total population. that is a country in the midst of one of the most terrific recessions in the world, but currently has an unemployment rate of 20.67%, yes, with a rate like that, you would expect a lot more than angry protesters and a hell of a lot more of them. now a check with anderson and what's coming up on "a.c. 360." >> unemployment of 20.67%. >> all the angles tonight you'll hear from a family about how the news rocked his hometown from idaho. he was told he couldn't talk about the mysterious circumstances of bergdahl's disappearance, but he point blank says he is a deserter. the panel weighs in on that and the five taliban detainees swapped for bergdahl. not everyone thinks this was the
right move. the nba says they have a buy forethe los angeles clippers. you're going to hear from donald sterling's lawyer, maxwell bleacher who says that sterling is going ahead with a laugh against the nba. i'll also talk to the pastor of an african-american church where sterling showed up this weekend. we'll see you in a few minutes, anderson. it's been nearly three months since malaysia airlines flight 370 disappeared. tonight the most promising lead has been discounted. a u.s. navy official tells us that the underwater pings thought to be from mh 370 are not from the plane. and authorities heading the search say they may have been looking in the wrong place for weeks. so what happens now? up front tonight, an exclusive interview with a man you know. the chief commissioner for the australian transport bureau. this is dollen's first -- this
has to have been some of the most stressful and incredible times of your career. let me just start with the pings. an american official says those pings did not come from the plane, is that true? >> we're still not sure what those pings were, what we do know is we have searched the whole sea floor associated with them. and not found the wreckage of mh 370. so we have discounted those pings as a clue for the search. >> so when wlyou say the plane s not there, is it possible the search equipment could have missed it in any way, do you feel the search was exhaustive or the bottom line, the plane isn't there and now you're going to have to broadening where you're looking by a huge, huge margin? >> the search was exhaustive, we're absolutely sure that the plane is not in that area and so, yes, we are going to have to
broaden the search and that is what we have been working on now for some time. >> in terms of broadening it, i mean how do you -- i mean right now, there were a couple of reasons that everyone was looking where you're looking or generally along that so-called arc, one was the pings, and the other was the nm arknmrsat data. have you seen all of the calculations, all of that and are you sure and confident that that plane is still >> we've seen all the data. we've seen all the calculations. we currently are reviewing the calculations and also developing our own model to cross check and verify that information and envelopes. we remain very confident as do
all the experts that the arc with the seventh ping is close to where the aircraft will be found but a very long arc. we're very confident that the aircraft turned south so the aircraft will be found in that arc in the indian ocean. >> so, the bottom line is when you said it turned south, when you talk about you believe it's still on that arc but you describe that arc as long, how big is the area now that you're looking at as a possible final resting place for mh-370? >> we're still completing the review and analysis of the satellite data and other information, including areas we have excluded from the search. at the moment we haven't excluded any element of the arc that's within the performance of the aircraft. what we are confident is we can reduce it to an area of
approximately 60,000 square kilometers, which is about 24,000 with square miles. it's a very large area but one which is searchable using tone sonar and other capabilities. it just will take a considerable period of time. we had by close analysis of the data that we'll be able to prioritize that search and to go to hire priority areas first. >> and higher priority areas determined -- do you think it's been 88 days. is there a part of you now that things, you know what, i hate to admit this, but we may never find it? >> this is a very challenging task, one that relies on very effectively limited information but information if analyzed and viewed carefully can give a lot of evidence about the likely location of the aircraft. we remain cautiously optimistic that we will find the resting
place of mh-370. >> thank you very much. martin dolan is head of the awe australian transport safety board. thanks so much, sir. >> it's my pleasure. >> still to come the strangest wedding dress accessory ever. i mean, and you might end up losing your child in a custody battle over this one. jeanne moos is next.
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here comes the bride and the baby. i mean for the love of god what is that on her dress? for tans we turn to jeanne moos. ♪ >> reporter: here comes the bride. omg. here comes the bride and baby attached to the baby's wedding dress. >> horrible. is it a real baby? >> reporter: it's a real baby. even some of the guests couldn't believe their eyes as she walked down the aisle to become shaunay carter brooks with her
1-month-old baby girl. >> was it padded? was she just going bump, bump. >> reporter: we don't know the details of how the baby was attached but we do know it caused internet insults to be showered like rice upon the tennessee couple. why not just tie to it the butcher with some cans and old shoes. poor kid. >> that's so ridiculous and embarrassing too. >> reporter: not everyone thought it was outrageous. >> i think it's cute. >> reporter: another defender post when i was a kid i loved it when my friends and i dragged each other around-the-house on the blanket. i'm sure the baby had fun. >> is that a baby. oh, jesus. >> reporter: that's her reasoning. the bride wrote on her facebook page we do what we want when we want as long as jesus is on our side. everything worked out fine. 1-month-old was awake and well secure. >> she shouldn't be a mother.
>> reporter: how did the baby behave on her trip down the aisle? only thing we have to go on is a comment from the bride's wedding guest. i thought it was unique, all i wanted to know is how she stayed so calm, lol. >> that's a stupid idea. >> reporter: the bride didn't respond to cnn's request for comment but the buzz feed says everyone entitled to their own opinion so god bless you. could the bru-ha-ha launch baby trains? jokesters photo shopped while others quiped no child left behind. we asked jerome. honey, i want to get married -- >> that's not going to happen not on my watch. >> reporter: jeanne moos, cnn, new york.
>> disturbing. thanks so much for joining us. we'll see you again tomorrow. anderson cooper 360 starts right now. good evening. ordinarily the release of an american service member after five years of captivity would cause celebration and joy but in the case of army sergeant bowe bergdahl, only america's prisoner of war in afghanistan is not so. little that's ordinary and nothing simple about his story. how he vanished was captured by a taliban group. then there's the trade of five guantanamo bay detainees. whether the obama administration broke the law in making the deal. we'll talk about it all tonight. you'll hear from all soldiers who served with bowe bergdahl who said for the last five