Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is “grateful” to President Barack Obama for returning him to the United States after nearly five years of captivity in Afghanistan, said Eugene Fidell, the lawyer hired to represent the former prisoner of war.
“He’s very grateful to President Obama for having saved his life,” Fidell told NBC News on Wednesday.
Fidell, who teaches military justice at Yale Law School, confirmed to NBC that he will represent Bergdahl throughout the military investigation into the circumstances of the soldier’s 2009 disappearance from his post.
Bergdahl could be sent to military prison if he is found to have deserted his station in Afghanistan.
“What I can tell you is that he’s been entirely cooperative with the government and that he has that kind of gratitude that a person whose life been saved has,” Fidell said, adding that he doesn’t expect the military to question Bergdahl in the immediate stages of the investigation.
Bergdahl, who was released in May after being held by the Taliban in Afghanistan, reportedly returned to active duty this week. Obama agreed to free five Gitmo prisoners in exchange for the American soldier, a decision that has been condemned by many Republicans. Critics also claimed the swap violated the National Defense Authorization Act because Obama did not notify Congress 30 days before transferring prisoners from Gitmo.
Bergdahl was initially treated in Germany before receiving additional care in Texas. He will now work a desk job at Fort Sam Houston while he continues transitioning back to American life.
An unverified photograph posted to the Internet last week from a Twitter account associated with the Taliban showed Bergdahl smiling while standing next to a bearded man. Identified in the tweet as “Leader Badar’udin Haqqani,” a former member of the Taliban, the man has his left arm wrapped around Bergdahl’s shoulder. Haqqani was killed two years ago during a suspected U.S. missile strike in Pakistan.