Defining Bowe Bergdahl

James Rosen on reports that Sergeant Bergdahl might have collaborated with the Taliban


This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," June 6, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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O'REILLY: "Impact Segment" tonight: defining Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl. As we reported there is enough evidence to call him a deserter but more than that gets dicey.

Fox News chief Washington correspondent James Rosen has been examining evidence that the Sergeant might have collaborated with the Taliban. He joins us now from Washington.

So you know what I'm saying here. You've got to be real careful when you get into these waters what -- what do you think -- let me pose it a different way. Based upon what you have seen, the evidence that you have examined, how would you define Sergeant Bergdahl?

JAMES ROSEN, FOX NEWS CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Probably in some respects as a kind of modern daily Lee Harvey Oswald -- a confused figure, a kind of inept figure by many accounts.

But I stand by my reporting. What we got our hands on were real time dispatches that Fox News obtained from something called the Eclipse Group. It's a private intelligence firm retained by the Pentagon as a subcontractor in the search for Bergdahl. Their situation reports or sit reps represent the best, most detailed accounts we've seen yet so far, Bill, of Sergeant Bergdahl's five years in captivity.

They contain the actual names of the men who controlled him. What tribe they belong to, what rank they held in the Haqqani Network where exactly they held him and when. These details are all in these report.

One last point the head of the Eclipse Network says he sent these reports to the chief of intelligence at CentCom. It defies imagination that that brigadier general would have just sat on these reports when the Bergdahl case was of such a top priority. Indeed one former senior intelligence officer who read all these reports confirmed to Fox News what I reported was consistent with what he read.

O'REILLY: All right who is the commander in question now who says he didn't get them?

ROSEN: Well, this person hasn't replied to our requests for comment.

O'REILLY: Do you want to name him tonight.

ROSEN: Sure yes we've been naming him all day his name is General Robert Ashley he was at the time the chief of intelligence for U.S. CentCom. Central command, he's now the commanding officer at Fort Huachuca.


ROSEN: And we put in two requests to hear back from him.

O'REILLY: All right now, according to this report, there are a mixture of actions by Sergeant Bergdahl. Number one, he tried to escape. Correct?

ROSEN: Right? Correct. More than once.


ROSEN: In fact got away for five days before being recaptured.

O'REILLY: Ok was put in a cage because of that, shackled, all of that that doesn't show a man who is collaborating. But on the other hand in the same report there are eyewitnesses who told this intelligence group that he did carry a weapon and do things that would indicate he was a collaborator. So what I'm saying, Rosen is that you have got two polar opposite reports under the same banner. How do you process that?

ROSEN: Well, because the reports are stretched out over time. They span -- the ones that we got our hands on -- 2009 to 2012. Look, as you know, Bill, there are some people out there whose full time occupation is as professional givers of flack to Fox News. Despite what they're saying and tweeting about me nowhere have I reported that Sergeant Bergdahl was actively collaborating with the enemy.

However, I have reported concerns to that effect in the intelligence community and some anecdotal evidence has begun accruing to that effect. It would be ethically dicey. to use your preferred journalistic lingo, to ignore such evident or suppress these ground reports show that while Bergdahl actually escaped for five days, was chained in a cage like an animal. Later points use observed to be on friendly terms, taking target practice with them and having declared himself.

O'REILLY: What was the time frame though? Was he -- was he unfriendly terms in the beginning and then he got disenchanted and tried to get away or did he try to get away in the beginning and then got friendly terms.

ROSEN: The successful escape attempt where he was loose for five days occurred about a year into his captivity. It's the last of the situation reports we obtained from August 2012, so about a little less than two years before he finally was swapped in this deal where he was reported to have declared for Mujahid (ph) -- a warrior for Islam.

O'REILLY: All right so.

ROSEN: Could he have very feigned this allegiance to survive, sure. Did he fall prey to Stockholm Syndrome possibly.


ROSEN: Was he earnestly committed to jihad all of this is possible especially given his prior e-mails and as part of the investigation we presume now underway by the Army.

But it is not me, Bill, who rendered judgment. That came from Susan Rice, the national security advisor who declared six days ago that Bergdahl had served with honor and distinction.

O'REILLY: That's just propaganda. You know, Ambassador Rice has lost all credibility with anybody. I mean she -- whatever she says, nobody believes.

Last question here and this is an important question. I have said that we have to give the Sergeant the benefit of the doubt and his family I mean I think that's the fair thing to do. I think you have to report these things. But it's my job to challenge and try to put them in perspective.

But here's the rub it looks like they are setting up Bergdahl for a mental incompetency deal, all right that he -- he's kind of crazy.

And that's what a crazy guy would do. First you try to escape. And then he would try to be their friend and then he would be this. And then he would be that. So it might all fall into the same category and indeed, the Sergeant might be a mentally imbalanced guy. That's very possible.

Last word.

ROSEN: I don't think this is a case of a canny operator sort of like Jamie Far on "MASH" purposely cross dressing in order to secure a discharge from the service. I think this is a genuinely confused individual. There are persistent reports that when he -- when he walked off his post he was either drunk or high on hashish. There is a lot still to be discovered and presumably at some point there will be a full proper Article 32 investigation Bill.

O'REILLY: Ok but you're presuming that in an administration that if it turns out that he's a real bad guy it's really going to be curtains for President Obama. So I don't know if I'm going to presume that.

ROSEN: I have made no such presumption. But that's good of you to attribute.

O'REILLY: Right you just used the word "presume". Right now, the President's whole legacy is riding on this story. That's how important it is. His whole administration is riding on it. If it turns out that this guy was a collaborator, Rosen, you know what's going to happen. His administration is done. That's how big this story is.

All right. We appreciate it. You might want to check out the book "The Strong Man", written by James Rosen. It makes a good Father's Day gift.

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