Report: Bergdahl Declared Himself a ‘Warrior for Islam’

Leah Barkoukis

6/5/2014 5:54:00 PM - Leah Barkoukis

We’re learning more details about the circumstances surrounding Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s captivity every day, and today is certainly no exception. Fox News’ James Rosen is out with a new report that shines some light on what Bergdahl’s five years with his captors were like, from converting to Islam and declaring himself a warrior for Islam to being kept in a metal cage like an animal.

U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl at one point during his captivity converted to Islam, fraternized openly with his captors and declared himself a "mujahid," or warrior for Islam, according to secret documents prepared on the basis of a purported eyewitness account and obtained by Fox News.

The reports indicate that Bergdahl's relations with his Haqqani captors morphed over time, from periods of hostility, where he was treated very much like a hostage, to periods where, as one source told Fox News, "he became much more of an accepted fellow" than is popularly understood. He even reportedly was allowed to carry a gun at times.

The documents show that Bergdahl at one point escaped his captors for five days and was kept, upon his re-capture, in a metal cage, like an animal. In addition, the reports detail discussions of prisoner swaps and other attempts at a negotiated resolution to the case that appear to have commenced as early as the fall of 2009. […]

At other points, however, Bergdahl was reported to be happily playing soccer with the Haqqani fighters, taking part in AK-47 target practice and being permitted to carry a firearm of his own, laughing frequently and proclaiming "Salaam," the Arabic word for "peace."

The reports were prepared by the Eclipse Group, which Rosen describes as a “shadowy private firm of former intelligence officers and operatives” that provides intelligence on security issues, including terrorist activities, around the world.

Retired Marine Corps General and former CENTCOM Commander James N. Mattis told Fox that no one within the intelligence or military community learned that Bergdahl became an active collaborator with the Taliban or Haqqani network, however. "We were always looking for actionable intelligence," Mattis said. "It wasn't just the IC [intelligence community]. We had tactical units that were involved in the fight. We had SIGINT. Any collaborators who were on the other side and who came over to our side. We kept an eye on this. ... There was never any evidence of collaboration."

If he was not an active collaborator, some experts have said he may have developed Stockholm syndrome or feigned allegiance as a means to survive. Either way, however, what is certain is that more intelligence, reports, and firsthand accounts will continue to come out, providing further insight into the events surrounding Bergdahl's captivity, and in time, why the administration exchanged the Taliban Dream Team for his release.