LUCAS TOMLINSON, FOX NEWS PRODUCER: Does the State Department consider Sergeant Bergdahl to be a deserter?
MARIE HARF, STATE DEPARTMENT: The State Department β no, Lucas. Look, what we said is we are going to learn the facts about what happened here. We said very clearly in a statement from the Secretary on Saturday that Sergeant Bergdahl was a member of the United States military who volunteered to serve his country. We donβt know the facts about what happened yet on that day.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) according to those around him, his platoon mates, his squad mates, company mates, they said he walked off the base.
MS. HARF: Lucas, some of them β other β there are conflicting reports out there about this. Look --
QUESTION: Are there?
MS. HARF: There are. Go Google it on the web and youβll find a ton of conflicting reports. The fact is weβre still establishing a fact pattern about what happened, how he ended up in Taliban captivity. So when he is able to share those, as Chairman Dempsey said today, he will. He also said, like any American, he is innocent until proven guilty. Our armyβs leaders will not look away from misconduct if it occurred. In the meantime, we will continue to care for him and his family.
So I think people need to be really careful about believing every second or third-hand report out there, and also what the President, what the Secretary, what Chairman Dempsey have said: Regardless of how he went missing, it is our responsibility to him to bring him home, period.
QUESTION: And when you say second- and third-hand reports, when his squad mates who served with him overseas said he walked off the --
MS. HARF: Lucas, Iβm sure some of them β I mean, look, thereβs a lot of rumor and telephone game thatβs being played here about what happened. Not all --
QUESTION: So youβre saying that the guys on television last night β his squad mates, platoon mates β were not correct?
MS. HARF: Iβm saying we donβt know the fact pattern yet here. We donβt. Nobody knows exactly what happened that night. As the facts emerge, as heβs able to discuss them with the Department of Defense, we will see where that takes us.
QUESTION: Going back to --
MS. HARF: That happened five years ago. This is a situation --
QUESTION: So youβve had all this time, five years, to determine whether he was a deserter or not. Thatβs a long time.
MS. HARF: Heβs been in captivity, Lucas. I think heβs probably the person who knows best what happened on that night.
QUESTION: But β well, I think that his squad mates have the best indication what happened that night.
MS. HARF: I donβt think that thatβs the case.