Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl described how he became imprisoned by the Taliban in his first publicly released interview Thursday. The soldier from Idaho is the subject of a new season of the public radio podcast “Serial.”
Bergdahl now calls his decision in June of 2009 to leave his outpost in Eastern Afghanistan a “stupid move.”
Serial, a spinoff of “This American Life,” draws on 25 hours of recorded interviews between Bergdahl and screenwriter Mark Boal, who’s collaborating with the podcast.
In the new episode of Serial, Bergdahl said he hatched an action movie-inspired plan that tapped into his running experience in the mountains of Idaho: he would sprint 19 miles to the nearest base to draw attention to a dangerous “leadership failure” in his unit.
“I was fully confident that when somebody actually took a look at the situation and when people started investigating the situation that people would understand that I was right,” he said.
The podcast will compare Bergdahl’s account to that of his fellow soldiers, and the Taliban’s, over a series of episodes.
The first season of Serial became a breakout hit in 2014, setting new records for podcast listenership and earning a Peabody Award. It explored a murder case in which a teenager named Adnan Syed was convicted of killing his girlfriend. The long-form, serialized investigation of the case unearthed evidence that had not been presented in the original trial.
The Army is considering whether Bergdahl should face a court martial on two charges, for which he could face up to life in prison if convicted.
Bergdahl’s attorney Eugene Fidell said Bergdahl has been judged unfairly in the public eye. In a statement, Fidell called the podcast “a step in the right direction.”
Fidell is trying to convince the military to release the investigation on Bergdahl conducted last year by Lt. Gen. Kenneth S. Dahl of Joint Base Lewis-McChord.