US Army's Bergdahl to face desertion charges: NBC

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US Army's Bergdahl to face desertion charges: NBC
SAN ANTONIO, TX - JUNE 13: (From left) Colonel Bradley Poppen, Ph.D., Major General Joseph P. DiSalvo, and Colonel Ronald N. Wool deliver a press conference at the Fort Sam Houston Golf Course July 13, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas. They are reporting on Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, his return to the United States, and reintegration at Brooke Army Medical Center after being a prison of war under Taliban captivity. (Photo by Drew Anthony Smith/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 31: President Barack Obama walks with the parents of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, Jani Bergdahl (L) and Bob Bergdahl (R) back to the Oval Office after making a statement regarding the release of Sgt. Bergdahl from captivity May 31, 2014 in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, DC. Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was held captive by militants for almost five years during the war in Afghanistan. (Photo by J.H. Owen-Pool/Getty Images)
Bob Bergdahl, the father of freed US soldier Bowe Bergdahl, speaks following the release of his son, US soldier Bowe Bergdahl, in the Rose Garden of the White House on May 31, 2014 in Washington, DC. US President Barack Obama and the Bergdahl's spoke after the release of Bowe Bergdahl by the Taliban in Afghanistan.  MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images
Supporters of freed prisoner of war US Army soldier Bowe Bergdahl including representatives of the ANSWER Coalition, CODEPINK and March Forward, rally in front of the White House in Washington, DC, June 10, 2014, to welcome Bergdahl home after 5-years of being held by the Taliban in Afghanistan. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 11: U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel testifies before the House Armed Services Committee about the about the prisoner exchange that freed Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill June 11, 2014 in Washington, DC. The trade of Bergdahl for five senior Taliban officials has angered some members of Congress because they were not informed of the swap beforehand. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 11: U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel listens during a hearing before the House Armed Services Committee June 11, 2014 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The committee held the hearing to examine the exchange of five Taliban prisoners from Guantanamo Bay for the release of U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl who had been held for almost five years by the insurgents in Afghanistan. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
HAILEY, ID - JUNE 01: A sign announcing the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl sits in the window of the Hailey Paint and Supply store on Main Street June 1, 2014 in Hailey, Idaho. Sgt. Bergdahl was captured in Afghanistan in 2009 while serving with U.S. Armys 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment in Paktika Province. Yesterday he was released after a swap for 5 prisoners being held at Guantanamo Bay was arranged. Bergdahl was considered the only U.S. prisoner of war held in Afghanistan. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
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(Reuters) - U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl will be charged with desertion for disappearing from his base in Afghanistan in 2009, NBC News reported on Tuesday.

Bergdahl, who was released from captivity last year in a controversial Taliban prisoner swap, could be charged within a week, the television network said, quoting senior defense officials who were not identified by name.

However, senior Army and defense officials contacted by Reuters could not confirm the report.

The officer in charge of the case, General Mark Milley, is reviewing facts and findings submitted by Army investigators last month and has not publicly said whether he will file charges, said spokesman Jim Hinnant. Milley heads the Fort Bragg, North Carolina-based U.S. Forces Command.

Milley is expected to make a decision soon on whether the findings merit a court-martial or some form of administrative punishment. The general also could decide no action against Bergdahl is warranted.

Bergdahl's attorney, New Haven, Connecticut-based Eugene Fidell, declined to comment on NBC's report.

Bergdahl is stationed at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, where he is working as a clerk.

The soldier, who spent five years in captivity after leaving his post, was released in May in exchange for five prisoners from the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The deal was blasted by some Republicans, and some of his fellow soldiers called him a deserter.

If officials conclude that Bergdahl broke U.S. military law, they could force him to forfeit hundreds of thousands of dollars in back pay accumulated during his captivity and give up future benefits, NBC said.

According to the network, charges against Bergdahl will not say that he left the base with the intent to never return. Citing defense and military officials, the network also said that he could be given a less than honorable discharge.

He would also likely be given consideration for his time in captivity, NBC quoted officials as saying.

(Reporting by Susan Heavey, David Alexander; Additional reporting by Jim Forsyth in San Antonio, Texas; Editing by Doina Chiacu, Bill Trott and Jonathan Oatis)

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