Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, formerly America’s only prisoner of war in Afghanistan, will return to his home country on Thursday night, according to multiple media reports.
Bergdahl, who has been treated at a U.S. military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany since a prisoner exchange secured his release late last month, “will arrive at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio sometime after midnight local time,” according to NBC News.
— NBC News (@NBCNews) June 12, 2014
The U.S.-Taliban prisoner exchange, as well as the circumstances of Bergdahl’s 2009 disappearance that led to his capture, have both been the subject of enormous scrutiny.
Lawmakers of both parties have criticized President Obama for approving the release of five Taliban officials from Guantanamo Bay without first notifying Congress, as he is required to do under federal law. Other critics in Congress have argued that the release of the Guantanamo detainees poses a significant national security risk to the U.S.
Meanwhile, several of Bergdahl’s former platoon mates have come forward to accuse him of desertion — charges that many conservatives have hyped as the soldier and his family have both come in for intense criticism.
NBC reported that Bergdahl will not make any public appearances “during Phase 3 of his reintegration process” and he will not make any media appearances.
Officials said this week that Bergdahl was “not ready psychologically or emotionally” to return to the U.S.
Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL) questioned that logic during Wednesday’s House Armed Services Committee hearing involving Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.
“Why hasn’t he been returned to the United States?” Miller asked Hagel. “We have seriously wounded soldiers that are returned to the United States almost immediately after they are stabilized.”
The defense secretary didn’t appreciate Miller’s questioning.
“Congressman, I hope you’re not implying anything other than that,” Hagel shot back.
This post has been updated.