So that’s what James Rosen meant on Hugh Hewitt’s show last night. If this is true, the “Eclipse Group,” an intel outfit run by a former CIA bigwig with an array of paid informants in Afghanistan, was receiving reports on Bergdahl starting shortly after he disappeared in 2009 through 2012. Circa 2010, Bergdahl had already tried to escape from the Taliban and was put in a “metal cage” as punishment. Fast-forward two years and he was allegedly a soldier for Allah. From an Eclipse report:
Conditions for Bergdahl have greatly relaxed since the time of the escape. Bergdahl has converted to Islam and now describes himself as a mujahid. Bergdahl enjoys a modicum of freedom, and engages in target practice with the local mujahedeen, firing AK47s. Bergdahl is even allowed to carry a loaded gun on occasion. Bergdahl plays soccer with his guards and bounds around the pitch like a mad man. He appears to be well and happy, and has a noticeable habit of laughing frequently and saying ‘Salaam’ repeatedly.
Obvious question: How can you prove that a “conversion” like this is sincere and not given under extreme duress? Remember, one of Fox News’s own employees was taken prisoner by jihadis a few years ago and fake-converted to Islam to save his own life. Sounds like Bergdahl resisted at first, even to the point of trying to escape (a claim corroborated by the Daily Beast), and then was gradually broken as his captivity endured. Rosen himself raises the possibility of “Stockholm Syndrome” in the story.
Gen. James Mattis, the former head of CENTCOM, says he may have received “bits and pieces” of Eclipse’s intelligence over the years but not any of their situation reports. He said he never saw any evidence that Bergdahl was a collaborator, though. Quote: “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.” Among the missing evidence is the propaganda video the Taliban normally could have and would have forced Bergdahl to make if it had an American soldier in its midst willing to declare jihad. Emphasis on “normally,” though: In Bergdahl’s case, since they were looking to swap him for Taliban prisoners from the very beginning, they may have decided to pass on the conversion video for fear that the U.S. wouldn’t make a deal for him once it went live.
Exit question: Did Bergdahl’s parents have any inkling of this? Maybe that would answer some of WaPo’s questions.
Update: Here’s a thought. If Rosen’s story is correct, maybe there is a conversion video — and the Taliban’s simply been holding it for release.
@allahpundit Taliban won't show Bergdahl praying to Mecca until they get the rest of the Gitmo prisoners back.
— Jim Wilke (@JimWilke) June 5, 2014
Update: He may have been anti-America, but was he pro-Taliban?
The Taliban found Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl walking alone, acting abnormally and cursing his countrymen before they captured him in Afghanistan in 2009, two men who were Taliban commanders at the time told NBC News on Thursday…
“Our people at the time couldn’t understand his language, but it was after he was shifted to a safe location, he said he wasn’t happy with his countrymen, but he didn’t intend to convert to Islam or join mujahideen (holy warriors),” one of the commanders said.