U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice confirmed that Idaho native and U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl "had lost ... a good bit of weight," and that his life was deteriorating, triggering the U.S. to act quickly to save Bergdahl's life.
As part of a swap for five high-profile Taliban leaders, who had been detained at the Guantanamo detention facility, Bergdahl was handed over to U.S. forces May 31. Bergdahl is now recovering at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, where he is also expected to be debriefed. Soon thereafter, Bergdahl will likely go to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. It was still unclear where his parents might see him first—in Germany or Texas.
"His process of repatriation has begun, and reintegration into society," said White House spokesman Jay Carney. "I'm sure it will not be an easy one, but we're overjoyed on behalf of his parents and his friends and family that he's returning home."
But controversy continues to creep around Bergdahl's captivity. When asked June 1 whether Bergdahl had left his post without permission, or possibly even deserted, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel would not answer directly.
"Our first priority is assuring his well-being and his health and getting him reunited with his family," said Hagel. "Other circumstances that may develop and questions, those will be dealt with later."
But a senior Defense official told CNN on condition of anonymity that "Five years is enough," and Bergdahl would not likely face any punishment.
"Here's what matters," said Carney. "He was a prisoner in an armed conflict, a member of the military, and in that situation, the United States does not leave its men and women behind."