Speculation around the circumstances of then-Private Bowe Bergdahl's disappearance rose to new heights today after TheBlaze received an unconfirmed tip that video evidence exists of the recently released prisoner of war walking off base.
During Tuesday's edition of The Buck Sexton Show a caller, going by Alex from Michigan, described in detail his responsibilities and participation in part of the rescue missions for Bergdahl, and said he was part of a security briefing that showed Bergdahl walking away from the post on surveillance video.
It's a claim we took to the government to see what they had to say.
A caller named Alex told TheBlaze radio host Buck Sexton he was part of mission briefings that included video footage showing then-Private Bowe Bergdahl walking off of his Forward Operating Base (Image source: AP).
"I was deployed to Afghanistan in 2009, very close to the (forward operating base) where he was on ... right after he walked off the base, they locked down the entire region ... and in the group I was part of, we were given a mission briefing, an operational order or a briefing, a mission briefing to basically try to lock down all movement in the region and try to find him," Alex explained. "During that briefing we actually watched the video of him walking off the base."
Sexton quizzed the caller; "Wait, there's video of him walking off the base?"
"Oh yeah, there certainly is," Alex insisted. The caller, who did not reveal his last name to the show, said he guarantees the video "isn't out yet or unclassified" but that each FOB had video cameras taping the security check points.
"All FOBs will have video cameras somewhere on the base, videos monitoring the entrances and exits of the base," Alex said. He noted that the timing was ironic, because he had gone through his old "military gear and found his notebook regarding this mission briefing."
Alex said the report details that Bergdahl walked off the base, was picked up by three men driving a Toyota Corolla hatchback and they placed a tarp over his head, and was eventually forced to dress in women's clothing for a time.
"I'm not sure how this information came about, it was just during my mission briefing that I received," Alex said. He emphasized that merely walking off the base, even if Bergdahl didn't have the intent to permanently leave, was a dangerous idea.
"That area, RC East at the time, was bad," Alex said.
To hear Buck Sexton's complete interview with the unconfirmed tipster who revealed the video details, listen here:
That's certainly interesting information. It should be noted that a caller later in the show disputed Alex's account.
So what does the government have to say?
When TheBlaze contacted the secretary of defense public affairs to confirm whether video of Bergdahl walking off of his FOB exists, Lt. Col. J. Todd Breasseale, OASD public affairs spokesman, said the source should be questioned.
"That tip does not comport with what we refer to as the facts. I'd double check the legitimacy of your source and more importantly, the feasibility that video might have existed where it did not."
TheBlaze then asked if that feasibility did exist, and whether video surveillance is regularly used on military installations for security. Lt Col. Breasseale didn't have an answer.
"For obvious force protection reasons, the Department doesn't discuss the security tactics, techniques, and procedures of our forces," he said.
[sharequote align="center"] "All FOBs will have video cameras somewhere on the base, videos monitoring the entrances and exits of the base ..." [/sharequote]
The video claim -- if found to be true -- could add another level of backpedaling from the Obama administration.
On Monday, State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Bergahl was characterized as "a member of the military who was detained while in combat." But Tuesday another State spokeswoman, Marie Harf, retreated by saying officials are in the process of finding out what happened. Harf channelled Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey, who said the military will soon learn what happened.
“[W]hen he is able to provide them, we’ll learn the facts,” Dempsey wrote on his Facebook page. “Like any American, he is innocent until proven guilty. Our Army’s leaders will not look away from misconduct if it occurred.”
Previously undisclosed details of Bergdahl's transfer were likely discussed Tuesday at the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, one staff member told TheBlaze the Senators would "be briefed by intelligence community officials," on the topic.
Intel Committee Chairwoman Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) said after the briefing that National Deputy Security Adviser Tony Blinken called her Monday night "apologizing" for failing to notify lawmakers sooner.
"He apologized for it and said it was an oversight," Feinstein said. When asked whether he used the word "oversight," according to the National Journal, Feinstein clarified: "In so many words, I can't say. That was my impression."
Follow Elizabeth Kreft (@elizabethakreft) on Twitter.