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New Revelations in Bowe Bergdahl Affair

Aired June 4, 2014 - 21:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, AC360 HOST: Hey, good evening. Thanks for joining us in this live edition of 360. Lot of breaking news in this special second hour of 360.

New revelations in the Bowe Bergdahl affair from the close door White House briefing tonight on Capitol Hill.

Senators being shown a proof of live video intended to bolster the White House case that they needed to act fast to get Sergeant Bergdahl back.

The clip which is yet to be made public reportedly shows him in declining health. It may indicate he was drugged according to some who saw it.

Also tonight, newly uncovered information from the army's early investigation of then Private Bergdahl's disappearance most notably that his commanders believes him to be a good soldier which is at odds with what we've heard from others who served with them.

There's also this for the first time tonight. We're able to watch the tense moments as Taliban fighters hand their captive back after five years to U.S. Special Forces.

You should know the video was shot and narrated by the Taliban who are now using it as propaganda in the region.

There's much more to it than that though which is why we're taking a closer look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Foreign Language)


COOPER: As we said, that's being used as propaganda throughout the entire region in Pakistan. The entire video runs considerably longer even though it's being used by the Taliban. It's also the only window we have into Bowe Bergdahl first minutes of freedom.

Chief National Security Correspondent Jim Sciutto walks us through the video.

Take a look.


JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: The riveting eight minute Taliban propaganda video contained intriguing clues about Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl his Taliban captors and his American rescuers.

A scene aging Bergdahl blinks repeatedly while seated in a pickup truck and again as he stands looking at the approaching American helicopter. Signs his eyes were unused to natural light or signs of emotion.

At one point, Bergdahl manages a brief awkward smile evidence of happiness or nervousness.

One captor then taps him three times on the shoulder and says to him, "Don't come back to Afghanistan. Next time you won't make it out alive." An ominous and sign of fear between captors and captive.

A Taliban narrator sets the scene.

UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: We waited in the area for around 10 minutes before the helicopters arrive and there were 18 Mujahideen fighters with me in the area and we had armed Mujahideen on the feet of the hills around the area.

SCIUTTO: And he is carrying a white plastic bag, the contents unknown.

Then, the unprecedented face to face meeting between U.S. special forces and the Taliban fighters, handshakes. An American places his left arm across his chest, an Afghan sign of respect. Another quickly frisks Bergdahl.

The Taliban narrator recounts what he claims they said to each other.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They first ask us about the health condition of the captive and told us to tell them the truth if he was not well.

But we saw that he was fine and told them that.

SCIUTTO: The soldiers wave, one keeping his eyes locked on the Taliban even as he walks background. Bergdahl keeps his eyes focused straight ahead. He is stumbling, the legs of a man repeatedly shackled or just a nervous walk across wacky terrain.

At the (inaudible) Berdahl is patted down once again, this time much more thoroughly, a precaution against a bomb or booby trap, where the Black Hawk helicopter disappears into the sky.


COOPER: And Jim Sciutto joins us. Now, on the hills of the video our new details about the circumstances under which Bergdahl disappeared from his post coming out.

SCIUTTO: That's right, we're getting details of an investigation the military did when he first disappeared and it collaborates some of the stories out there and knocks down some others. It collaborates instant allegations from some of his fellow soldiers and that he had been wondered off that post more than once before.

It knocks down another story that have been out there that he left a note talking about leaving. This report has no details of that.

But also as you referenced earlier on, painting something of a conflicting picture of him his commanding officers said that he was a good soldier but it also says that his fellow soldiers said he had talked about many times leaving perhaps walking across the mountains to India from Afghanistan and that he had sent back many of his most valued objects, his valuable objects including his computer, home, a sign (inaudible) by investigators that he was planning to leave.

COOPER: And there's also word that Defense Secretary Hagel called Bergdahl's family today. Do we know details of that?

SCIUTTO: We do. I mean I think what this was was a gesture of reassurance to the family, the Secretary aware of all this negative information out there. He reaches out to the family and the message to them was, according to senior administration official that our focus, meaning the Pentagon's focus is on Bergdahl's well being, his health, and his reintegration.

And in that call we're told the Secretary encouraged the family to do the same and reassured them that they would continue and that he, Bowe Bergdahl, would continue to have the support of the military as he recovers from five years in captivity.

So I think a gesture of reassurance to a family that's probably, you know, it's already gone through a lot, God knows over the last five years, but going through a lot more in these last several days.

COOPER: Yes, Jim Sciutto, appreciate the update. Thanks.

Between the video, new details about Bergdahl's time of captivity, the continuing outcries surrounding the deal to free him, certainly a lot to talk about.

Joining us again Dan O'shea, former Navy SEAL Commander, former Coordinator of the Hostage Working Group at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. Investigative Reporter David Rohde who was taken in Afghanistan. He escaped after seven months in captivity.

Also New York Times Correspondent Stephen Farrell, back in 2009, he too is kidnapped by Taliban militants in Afghanistan. He was rescued four days later but his Afghan times colleague and a British soldier were killed during the operation.

Stephen let me start with you. When you take a look at this video, obviously it's very different situation than you actually are rescued in a fire fight. What do you see from this video? What really stands out to you?

STEPHEN FARRELL, NEW YORK TIMES CORRESPONDENT: Well it makes clear to me as for everyone, I think the Taliban know what they're doing in propaganda certainly with cameras. I mean I remember when we were taken, the very first minutes of the propaganda they bundle us into a car and they took us around the villages showing us the vehicles they said they blown up, driving us up very close to U.S. military bases saying, (inaudible) actually like they're saying, you know, this is the area we control. You do know whether it's was true. They are very keen to keep that image out.

Propaganda is what they do.

COOPER: It's also fascinating for a group which when they were in power, you know, said you can photograph them, there were images shouldn't be taken of people. The fact that they are now have such an online presence and used propaganda so effectively, I mean it's kind of a big change for them.

FARRELL: Yeah, I mean an event like this happens and you see the spin coming in from all sides and the Taliban are very, very quick with their spin. They know what their intended audience is looking for, is listening for and they know the signals to put in. They'd always try to portray the Americans as cowards or is insulting or is weaker than they are.

And clearly the image here of the man standing over Bergdahl in the car, you know, the dominant figure. I mean that tallies with everything that we've seen him before.

COOPER: It's also, David, you know, it's very easy in all the drama around this and all the questions about how he disappeared, whether he was a deserter or not, was this the right deal? Just to lose side of what this young man must have gone through over the last five years. You've been very quick to point out you were taken for seven months which to me sounds like a lifetime as well.

You say it's, you know, a quarter of the time that Bergdahl was taken. But it's important to people not lose sight of the reality of what his life has been for five years no matter what the circumstances he left, he described a little bit about just the impact of being held.

DAVID ROHDE, REUTERS INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: As the time goes by, you feel more and more isolated and you're doing things that they tell you to do. I mean there is these video tapes that he's been in captivity, some people have criticized that but you know, I made the same kind of video tapes.

So there's this question about this tape that comes out that apparently, you know, there's concern about his health.

I made a video tape which was never made public where I wept under orders for my commanders and I came home ...

COOPER: They told you to...

ROHDE: They made me weep and I was complete play acting but I did it, I was very concerned they're going to kill the two Afghans who have been abducted with me. So I cry on this video and I came home and my family said, "Oh my God, you look broken in that video. You look like you were just lost and we were all so upset after that video." And I said "You know, you kidding me I was sort of just doing what I was told to try to keep all three of us alive."

COOPER: And for you I mean your captivity was a number of days. But psychological, what is that like?

FARRELL: Doesn't compare two years. But at one thing you do notice. They moved me around a lot, they moved us around a lot, four or five times in a day, we've been moved from house to house. You have a essential core guard team with you. But other would come and go. And so, as you maybe try and build the relationship or at least get them down from hostile to less hostile. Somebody else would walk in the room and completely change that dynamic and it would start all of again. That was exhausting after four days, I can't image when it was like after years.

COOPER: Dan for you, you know, in Baghdad you oversaw and dealt with a lot of hostage situations. What do you learn about that process that kind of shapes the way you look at the situation?

DAN O'SHEA: Well as David just alluded to that and Stephen about the propaganda value and they're very cartography in how they do this. And in every instance, take for example Roy Hallums held in a hole underground for 311 days at South of Baghdad. The video tapes he made, the proof-of-life video tapes. He was being before hand, they wrap his hair and they told him to cry. And they literally -- they said we want you to cry in camera. So that's part of the message and in every case, you know, we will be looking at this proof-of-life videos, try to ask or change health situations.

But the Taliban and Al-Qaeda and these groups, they go out of way to make the situation look dyer that this guy is about to die or he or she, so that they raise the stake of the game, the sense of urgency, that their concession are made. Be on a prisoner swap in this case or ransom paid.

COOPER: You know, I think it also, I mean, I just want t to repeat what you've said about Roy held in a hole in the ground from more than 300 days. I mean I remember hearing that at the time. I mean that is -- I just can not imagine surviving something like the impact of that being a hole underground for that long.

O'SHEA: Well, I went out within about four hours, five hours at the rescue. I when out with the FBI team that try to collect information. So, I was literally in the hole in the ground. It was basically underground cellar, I was about four feet four and a half feet tall to six or seven feet wider and about 10, 12 feet long. And one point there were nine hostages reportedly held inside this space with Roy.

And we did brief an Iraqi who was held with Roy and rescued Roy. An Iraqi male probably 19, 20 years old, he'd been in there for about four months. This kid weight about 80 pounds and he literally could not walk without the help. Must like Bergdahl was having trouble walking. This Iraqi boy, had to be carried, he could not walk without help. So that's pretty, pretty common for this guys in fact that Bergdahl was blinking, I mean his probably has not been on the Sun his entire captivity, because obviously the Taliban were concern that they might be predator overheads. So this will explains a lot of the condition they he had. That obviously Stephen, certainly David could allude...


O'SHEA: ...going to that experience first hand.

COOPER: It just incredible. David Rohde, again I appreciate you been with us. Stephen, thank you so much, we're being honor, I appreciate you talk. Dan O'shea. I want to come back to you shortly on another aspect to the story. I want to turn out to another video that been use as propaganda. The five Guantanamo detainees arriving in Qatar, under the terms of the SWAT, they're apparently going to stay there for a year, be monitored during that time.

And probably for years to come by authorities and presumable by Americans intelligence. That's said serious question remains where these five men are concern. Joining us tonight from Qatar Senior international correspondent, Ivan Watson.

Ivan, so little as known about how these five former Taliban commanders are going to live in Qatar. What did you learned?

IVAN WATSON CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We're still trying to piece out together. It's clear that their not going to be detained their going to be free citizen able to live in this city Doha the capital here. Presumably they would be on some kind of compound. Reportedly their families will be able to join them. They will not be able -- allowed to leave the country for a period of at least a year, Anderson. That seems to be one restriction on them. And then a question for after that is where they would go?

They don't seem to have passport right now. So would Qatar give them passports? We don't think so, base on its past history with other emigrants here. The Afghan governments are not big fans of this former high ranking officials and the former Taliban regime. Pakistan maybe is the possibility but it's fighting its own Taliban insurgency. So the question of where these guys could go after their year here is up. But for now, big question just where they're going to live? Are they going to be able to get jobs? Will they be funded, supplied by the Taliban by the Qatari government? Good questions.

COOPER: And I mean it is pretty much a police state there. But do we know anything and will their movement be limited or are they free to go to the mall and hangout?

WATSON: You know, from the indication we've got Anderson, they are not going to be terribly restricted. I would be surprise and I'm speculating a bit here, if they allowed to starts giving press conferences base on what have been told from people who know this country very well. Qatar has accepted other official like this. I've met Syrian dissidents for example a High-ranking ambassador. Under close scrutiny when they come over to hear by the Qatari official then, by the Qatari state. So I doubt that these guys will able to walk around and starts giving press conferences left and right. But we're told that they will be free citizen. They will be able to move around. That seems who had been part of the deal. They're just restricted. They can't leave Qatar for at least a year after this prison swap.

COOPER: Ivan Watson. Ivan, thanks very much. Well a quick reminder, makes sure you set you DVR, so you can watch 360 whenever you'd like. Up next, fact check and the allegations from members in Sergeant Bergdahl's units who say, "Other troops lost their live because of him." Also tied to other American, American civilians been held captive. Tonight where (inaudible) stories, just ahead.


COOPER: There's a reason why the Bowe Bergdahl affair has scourge as conservancy despite reports of his commanders consider him a good soldier. Some among the ranks in his units as, you know, in fact do not. They consider him deserter. Some are going as far saying that his disappearance caused American lives. That's the allegation. Tonight a fact check from Pamela Brown.


PAMELA BROWN: Some of those who serve a long side Bowe Bergdahl tells CNN, they want him brought to justice. Calling him a deserter and claiming his disappearance lead to the deaths of his fellow soldiers.

NATHAN BETHA FORMER US ARMY SGT: What he did had second and third order affects that rippled through the area and if those affects harmed people.

BROWN: Soldier says when Bergdahl disappeared in June 2009, their primary mission immediately changed. They were order a fan out across the dangerous Paktika province and find him

EVAN BUETOW FORMER US ARMY CPT: We were going to certain villages base on intelligence that we received, whether we are there to actively search for Bergdahl or whether we are there just to talk to the local to see if they knew anything and do a presence patrol.

BROWN: Over the next three months, at least six soldiers were killed in that same province but whether Bergdahl has anything to do with that is murk.

These military releases on the soldier's death have few details, only saying they died from roadside bombs or enemy gun fire. Matthew Farwell who served in a Paktika Province believes there's no way to link those deaths directly to Bergdahl.

MATTHEW FARWELL, FORMER U.S ARMY SERGEANT: The soldiers died because they were out there doing their job as soldiers, right? Which is running patrols, looking for the enemy, doing movements to contact and doing their jobs as soldiers.

BROWN: A former military officials tells CNN there were numerous operations going on in that province, not all related to this search for Bergdahl.

The Taliban was gaining strength there. Attacks were on the rise, according to confidential military logs released to WikiLeaks. And it was right before the troops search when military leaders realize the situation in Afghanistan was worst than first thought.

FARWELL: the fact is Paktika Province is a very dangerous area and anytime you flood the zone with a bunch of U.S. soldiers, that's going to wind up getting people killed.

BROWN: Even if the casualties can't be directly traced to the search, some of Bergdahl fellow soldier say the search diverted resources and created a more dangerous environment.

Ultimately, the military will decide whether Bergdahl should be prosecuted for death, something a legal expert say would be unprecedented.

LEE ZELDIN, U.S ARMY RESERVE JAG: The Government have to approve the intent that he was not going to return. When he left, he had no intention of returning back to that post.

Any service members who died were dying trying to rescue Sergeant Bergdahl.

BROWN: Pamela Brown, CNN Washington.


COOPER: I want to get some additional perspective now from someone with extensive experience on the ground, Former Navy SEAL, Dan O'Shea, joins me again.

So Dan, though saying that Bergdahl is responsible for the deaths that may have happened because of the search for him, do you think that's fair criticism?

O'SHEA: Well, you know, indirectly, these soldiers were now been (inaudible) search submissions for Bergdahl that died and has been alluded that there's up to six soldiers from his battalion that died specifically on missions, there out searching for him.

So, you know, second , third effects as was brought up earlier by the captain that was part of the searches, indirectly, yes, you have the hold Bergdahl and his actions responsible for wounds and all point kill in action for troops from that battalion.

COOPER: There are some who are claiming that he is responsible for basically every American combat death in Paktika Province in months after he disappeared. Do you think that's fair or that is a stretch?

O'SHEA: No, that is a stretch, I mean, listen, Paktika Province, RC- east, regional command east is one of the most dangerous regions. In fact my last couple of months as a (inaudible) adviser in late 2012 was in RC-east and that is a place where every patrol is fought with danger. Every time you have the wire, you got a potential of an IUD or suicide attack.

So, it was the most hot environment and so you can't blame death on, you know, Bergdahl that happened over that timeframe. But without question my -- I'm getting comments from a lot of my peers to talks about it guys in their units that went on specific missions to look for Bergdahl and guys were wounded in shots. So yes, there's a lot of our deeps felt resentment, especially for the members in his unit. And its perception is their reality, so you have to accept that.

COOPER: Will that factor, you think into whether of course the military decides and take regarding Bergdahl in terms of how he leaves the army?

O'SHEA: No. I mean, the bottom line is -- Bergdahl is going to be held accountable for what he did that night. Did he leave his post? Did he abandon his post? Did he deserved or was he -- did he collaborate with the enemy? Is he up for treason?. Those need to be address.

Now everything else, that's military. That's what we all sign up for. Every time you wire, you have to accept that. So those should not come into play in terms of, you know, charges against Bergdahl. But public perception is reality and that's what he's going to have to do with the rest of like, regardless, he's already been convicted in a large swap of the military population, a lot of American stake because this facts are coming out.

But the reality is he will be charge, he will examine upon his conducts and conduct alone. And then they need to decide if they going to put him up in UCMJ and potentially court-martial Bergdahl

COOPER: And certainly there's a lot military officials who want to hear directly from Bergdahl, not only about his experience as in captivity but about circumstances about his disappearance.

Dan O'Shea, I appreciate you sticking around. Thanks for being on again.

For more on the story, you can go to and of course of other stories as well.

Up next tonight, what do Bergdahl case means for other Americans being held captive in the Middle East, American civilian? I'll speak with the daughter of Warren Weinstein who is kidnap in Pakistan. That's Warren there in there in 2011, still being held. Also we ahead Bowe Bergdahl's childhood in upbringing a lot (inaudible) is certainly unconventional, what we know about how he grew up in Idaho.


COOPER: The families of other Americans who are being held captive in Middle East have been watching the fall out from the Bergdahl case, probably with more interest than anyone. They're hoping that the way this case has been handled in the controversy that has sprung up around it go on jeopardize what they want more than anything else for their loved ones to be able to come home. In a moment, I'll speak with the daughter of one American who was kidnapped in Pakistan in 2011. He's been held captive ever since. The first Randi Kaye reports on that case and other Americans were being held right now.


RANDI KAYE: It was sent to his family and appears who have been recorded in November 2010. By then, American Bob Levinson had been held for 3.5 years.

ROBERT LEVINSON: I am running very quickly on a diabetes medicine. 33 years of service to the United States, deserves something. Please help me.

KAYE: Levinson is a retired FBI Agent, last seen of Iran's Kish Island in March 2007. His family said he was working as a private investigator, but later revealed he was working for the CIA.

They are desperate to find him

SUSAN LEVINSON: Dad, if you can hear us, we love you, we miss you. We're doing everything we can to get you back.

KAYE: In the fall of 2010 he run as president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told Larry King on CNN that he run has no idea what happened to Levinson.


LARRY KING: So you have no idea where he is.



KAYE: In April 2011, Levinson's family received these photos. It's believed to be the last they've heard of him, a thick beard, chains on his risks. The message is clear he needs help. Levinson marked the terrible anniversary in November 2013 becoming the longest held American in history.


KAYE: Caitlin Coleman and her husband Joshua Boyle, disappeared nearly a year and a half ago while traveling in the mountains in Afghanistan. The AP says she is American and was pregnant at the time. He is Canadian. Her family received two videos last year in which the couple is asking to be freed from their Taliban captures. U.S. law enforcement believed the videos are authentic but it's an unclear when they we're made.


KAYE: Coleman refers to her child in one video but her child is not shown on screen. Their families say they are innocent tourist who wondered into dangerous territory. The motive for their abduction remains unclear. Neither family has received any ransom demands.


WARREN WEINSTEIN: May name is Warren Weinstein, I'm 71, I'm a consultant. I was working in Pakistan when I was captured by the Mujahideen.


KAYE: Aid worker Warren Weinstein was kidnapped at gun point from his home in Pakistan in 2011.


WARREN WEINSTEIN: I appeal to the president of United States of America and the American government to intervene on my behalf and to seek my release.


KAYE: A year later, another proof of life video.


WARREN WEINSTEIN: I'm not in good health. I have a heart condition...


KAYE: AlQaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri release a recording claiming the terror group is holding Weinstein and demanding among other things an end to air strikes by the U.S.

On tape al-Zawahiri gave thanks to God for the capture of an American Jew. The State Department has said they continue to work with the Pakistanis who are cooperating but still know sign of Warren Weinstein.

Randi Kaye, CNN New York.


COOPER: Warren Weinstein's daughter Alisa is campaigning for the release of her father. She joins me now.

Alisa when you first heard about Sergeant Bergdahl released what went through your mind?

ALISA WEINSTEIN: Well, of course I was thrilled for the Bergdahl family. We all were. We dreamed of that happening, that same news coming to us but the, you know, the next thought in my mind was, you know, what is this mean for us, what is this mean for my father and some real disappointment that my dad wasn't included in the exchange.

COOPER: You're also I know concern about the negative response of Bergdahll's release has gotten. Can you explain that? A WEINSTEIN: We started to realize that the administration is going to be a lot less likely to do this again if it causes some political problems for them, so it doesn't mean that the door is close for us, for that kind of thing happening to bring my father home and it's really something that scares a lot.

COOPER: When the State Department was asked about this week about other Americans currently being held hostage, they know that this Sergeant Bergdahl was a member of the military saying that that made this "unique circumstance." That's got to be...


COOPER: painful to hear.

A WEINSTEIN: It was incredibly painful to hear, and you know, we were reading and following the media of course because as I said earlier, you know, we were wondering what this would mean for us. And to read things like that that, you know, one hostage is more worthy of freedom than another or deserves to be brought home more than another hostages just insulting.

It's, you know, it's true that Sergeant Bergdahl is a soldier and he deserves the respect of anyone who serves in the military but my father is just is deserving of freedom as Sergeant Bergdahl as our -- all of the Americans were being held abroad.

You cannot distinguish between these hostages. It's just, you know, it isn't something that the families of those people want to hear.

COOPER: According to the administration, part of the reason they arrange for Bergdahl's release was because of health concerns. You also have very serious concerns about your dad's health.

A WEINSTEIN: Absolutely. I mean my father is 73 years old. Well, he will be 73 years in July and he has a heart condition. He has severe asthma and, you know, when the video came out of my father in December it was clear from that video that he is not in good physical condition.

He was incredibly pail. He was gaunt. His voice was weak and, you know, it's -- if health concerns part of thing that the administration saying was the reason they brought out Sergeant Bergdahl, well my father certainly is not in good health.

And that is something is very, very clear and visible.

COOPER: What is your message to the U.S. Government, to the administration regarding what they are or they aren't doing right now to bring your dad home? Is there something you want them, people to know?

A WEINSTEIN: Yes. I want the administration to tell us what they are doing to bring my father home, to bring home the other American hostages. They've shown with this exchange that they can get this done, if they want to, they can do this. So I know that they can do it for us and they can do it for others as well. And to me they can't just pick and choice. They can't decide that it works to get one person out and then leave everybody else there. And Ambassador Rice said that the American people would never have forgiven the administration they had left Sergeant Bergdahl in Pakistan where he was being held. And I don't think the American people would forgive them if they left anyone there.

I don't think it's just about Sergeant Bergdahl, it's everyone. They need to bring these people home.

COOPER: And you're encouraging, you're hoping to get people to where yellow ribbons or tied up around their communities to keep pressure on, to keep people remember.

A WEINSTEIN: Yes, exactly. And I have one on myself and we're asking people to tie ribbon to the lamp post, to tree, put one on you're wrist and tweet to the administration, tweet to the White House, to President Obama, let him know, let them know that we are thinking of these other hostages that there are still people out there who deserve to come home.

COOPER: Well, Alisa I know it's easy to talk about and I appreciate you coming on. I hope this helps.

A WEINSTEIN: Thank you so much.

COOPER: Well just ahead tonight, what shape Bowe Bergdahl, the soldier. Let's look deeper on his childhood and the places and people who influence him growing up. Plus when President Obama hit the hotel gym, pulling a video camera with lurking, was it security bridge or just lapse in etiquette by the person who shot the video. And I think you can actually see the guy who shot it. We think that they're in the corner, that's he's leg there. More ahead.


COOPER: Well, the U.S. said one way or the other, they think Bowe Bergdahl is in disorder, shortly before he walk out his base he wrote his parents about his dissolution with the military in his mission in Afghanistan. Bergdahl is the only one who can say what was in his heart in ahead at the time, exactly what happened. Now that said, his past, his upbringing is the obvious place to try to look for some clues.

What shaped him? What shaped the soldier who left his post in the combat zone in the middle of the night? His childhood was certainly not conventional and his pack to the military wasn't exactly direct. George Howell has been digging deeper into Bergdahl's upbringing. Here is what he found.


GEORGE HOWELL: To try to better understand Bowe Bergdahl you have to start here. The rugged terrain of the Idaho Backcountry, the backdrop he calls home. His father explains its best in the recent interview with the guardian before his son was released.

ROBERT BERGDAHL: This is Aspen Forest, sort of Bowe played through here when he's growing up as a kid. He and his friends are allover these trees. And so tonight I come up here and reminisce.

I wake up each morning and my first though is my son is still prisoner of war in Afghanistan and I need to do something about that.

HOWELL: Born March 28, 1986 in a small town here in the Wood River Valley, friend say Bergdahl grew up loving the outdoors.

He live this simple, some might even say unconventional life. Bergdahl is home schooled in this area, just outside the Hailey Idaho. People close to the family tell me that they had a lot of books and that Bergdahl love to read, that he was fascinated with learning about the world beyond these mountains.

SUE MARTIN: So I guess you could call him a seeker, he love meeting people that were doing the same things. He go on fishing boats in Alaska. He met people in California and joined them on their sailboat and they finish their travels around the world. He rode his bicycles from here to California and back.

HOWELL: Bergdahl accomplished a lot before the age 23. You see him here on a high seas adventure, right there in the green jacket. He spent three months on that boat with his hometown buddy Dylan Fukmer.

DYLAN FULMER, FRIEND OF BOWE BERGDAHL: Bowe is good kid. He's strong as a Ox.

HOWELL: Burgdahl was even interested in joining the French Foreign Legion, friends say, though it never quite came together. And according to a report in Rolling Stone, he talked to a missionary friend in Uganda about going to Africa to teach self-defense techniques to villagers targeted by militia groups. Bergdahl also took interest in learning baley while he lived in Hailey. Sherry Horton was his teacher.

SHERRY HORTON: Bowe was really good. He was very -- always trying to extend his knowledge. He really wanted to learn about new different things like baley, you know, he was with the martial arts and sword fighting and baley.

HOWELL: In 2008, Bowe Bergdahl decided to enlist in the army, a moved that reportedly surprised his parents, though they were ultimately supportive. According to Rolling Stone, Bergdahl is sold on the idea of going to Afghanistan to help the locals rebuild their lives and communalities but later Bob Bergdahl would tell the magazine, "Well we were given a fictitious picture, an artificially created picture of what we were doing in Afghanistan."

It was a belief that Bergdahl appear to hold too as report suggest. He literally walked away from the army in the remote region of Afghanistan.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: Well, George Howell joined us now from Hailey Idaho. So as I mentioned that the town in Hailey, they're canceling his welcome celebration. I understand they're doing it, they say out of safety concerns.

HOWELL: Well, Anderson yes, you know, it's really a matter of public safety for this city officials. They're worried that they're not ready to handle the number of people that could converge on this town. There's so much media attention. So many different opinions. They canceled it as a matter of public safety. But still when you talk to people to support it's strong. You do get a sense the people are staying out of the politics. They're waiting for Bowe to return home to hear the story directly from him, Anderson.

COOPER: All right. George Howell appreciated. Thanks. Up next when investigators are learning about their two 12 year old girls accused to trying to kill their 12 year old friend, plus an update on the victim's condition. Also in tonight with Secret Service saying about the video, someone took President Obama working on in the hotel gym. Why they didn't tell the person shooting the video to stop? We think the guy in the left there in the blue shirt is actually the one who's shooting the video.


COOPER: Crime and Punishment tonight, police in Wisconsin said the 12 year old girl was stabbed 19 times left for dead in the woods is recovering, her conditions has been upgraded to fair. Her alleged attackers, two 12 year old girls has been charge as adult with first degree intentional homicide. As we reported all three girls are friends. They go to the same school. They've had a sleep over the night before the attacked.

Police said the two suspects trying to kill the victim to impress a fictional character on the website called Creepypasta.

Miguel Marquez has joins me now with the latest. The two accused 12 year olds, they've been charged as adults with this attempted murder. Are there lawyers going to try to move it to Juvenile Court?

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is most likely that they will eventually try to do that. Before that happens we suspect that there will be a competency here, you know, they will try to test their psychological sensibility before they try to move this to Juvenile Court. In Wisconsin, it's mandatory because they are 12 but there will be a hearing to decide whether this goes back to Juvenile Court. But its very high bar they have because of the nature of this crime and the sate does not want to send the signal to other kids that this sort of thing is OK, Anderson.

COOPER: So the guy who created the fictionalized character that the girls are allegedly trying to impress, released the statement today. What have that said?

MARQUEZ: Yes. Erik Knudson. He is out of Florida. He's 33 years old. He created this back in 2009, it's just a photograph online that has taken off and it's turning to all sort of stories and he released the following statement saying he's deeply sadden by the tragedy in Wisconsin and that his heart goes out to the families involved here, probably in all statement. He also said he's not talking to the media at this time.

COOPER: You also spoke, understand with school superintendent. What did they say about the three girls?

MARQUEZ: Nothing in -- that he knew about that time, nothing in their record or past indicated that they would be capable of something like this. That said, he also said that parents of some students have kept their students away from school, other students in class have asked for counseling at the school because they are concerned. They are concerned about other students that may be involved with this, maybe taking this seriously.

Parents want to know that everything is cool and copasetic at their school before they let them go back and before things in this, you know, idyllic suburb town can get back to normal. Anderson?

COOPER: And are police still sticking to this idea that the two girls attempted to kill their friend to impress this fictional character?

MARQUEZ: This is everything that they have said in their complaint. That if you read through that, it reads like two teenage girls or preteens having a thief online. It is shocking to see the disregard that they had for their friend, one of them saying to the officer, "Is it wrong that I don't feel bad right now." It's just shocking stuff in there. Anderson?

COOPER: All right. Miguel Marquez, thanks very much. Let's take part of this in the other story's following. Susan Hendricks at 360. Go ahead Susan.

SUSAN HENDRICKS: Anderson, we start with breaking news. A military Harrier Jump Jet has crashed in Imperial, California. That's about an hour and a half east of (inaudible) crash in a neighborhood no where (inaudible) and any civilian injuries. The pilot of the Arizona based were plane ejected safely and just taken to the hospital.

For the last of the original Navajo "Code Talkers" has died. Chester Nez was one of 29 Navajos recruited by the US Marine Corps during World War II. They developed the code based on their unwritten language that couldn't be broken by the Japanese military and help win the war. Chester Nez was 93.

Australian authorities are accepting bids from private contractors now interested in running the next space of the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. Whoever gets the job will have 300 days to search 23,000 square miles in the Indian Ocean.

And a big reversal from Donald Sterling. According to Sterling's attorney, his client has agreed to the sale of the L.A. Clippers to performer, Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer for 2 billion dollars and he will drop his lawsuit against the NBA that accused the league of violating his constitutional rights by forcing him to sell the team. And baseball-size hail (inaudible) on a car dealership outside of Omaha, Nebraska last night. More than 4,000 vehicles were hit and estimated 162 million dollars in damages.

COOPER: That's crazy.

HENDRICKS: As you could see it's really bad.

COOPER: Yeah, unbelievable. All right. Susan, thanks very much. Up next, how would you like it if your morning workout was caught on video, all the grimacing and then plastered online for the world to see? Well, President Obama, we share your pain.

The question is what was the Secret Service doing when the camera was running?


COOPER: Tonight, another reminder that you would give up a lot of privacy when you're president of United States.

Check on the video showing President Obama working out at a hotel gym in Poland. A person shot it, caught the commander chief grimacing, even yawning during his workout and reassuring, I guess, that this just like us not respect but it does seem like a huge evasion of privacy. The Secret Server says it wasn't a security breach and Mr. Obama was never in any danger. Other way, he's in Poland marking the 25th anniversary of the solitary movement and meeting with Ukraine's newly elected president.

Michelle Kosinski is traveling with the president.

So Michelle, this video, I just feel bad for the president of United States that he's being videotaped in this tiny hotel gym working out and that nobody seems to stop it. Does this, I mean, how -- do we know the circumstances that -- who took this video?

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, I know. I think a lot of people felt that way. One guy commented saying, "Hey, I've been in hotel gyms before where security cleared the place out because Celine Dion was going to show up." So that's the question, who would do such a thing? Maybe we should call this gym gate or something. I mean, the White House still will not comment about it.

The hotel where that happened just said that they will not speak of it. But at this point it doesn't look like there's anything sinister, just a Polish guy in gym in a very nice hotel where the president was staying there and works out. But it stuns a lot of people to see this video of the president of the United States and obviously some private moment. You see him starting out his 30 workout with the big yawn and working on the free weights, doing some popping and puffing, some squat. And now this is making its way around the internet set to a kind of cheesy soundtrack, no less Anderson.

COOPER: But I mean, you know, A, gives you a sense of, I mean, how he's in a complete bubble and, you know, constantly watched at all times. But I'm surprised that A, he didn't realize he was being videotaped and that there wasn't some Secret Service agent there who was aware he was being videotaped. Do they allow people in this situation to just videotape the president working out? I mean, I've never seen this kind of video before.

KOSINSKI: Yeah, I think that's -- right. I know we've never seen anything like this. And this is not the kind of a leak we expect to see on a trip like this, doesn't look like at this point like the NSA or Wikileaks had anything to do with this.

But yeah, that's the big question. How does this -- how is that even allowed to happen? But all the secret service is commenting on it and they say they don't clear out the gym. The president does sometimes workout in a hotel gym. He likes to get that work out in. And they don't make people leave. They don't make them put away their cameras. They don't say anything about it. In fact one Secret Service agent said that it was a parent that people were taking pictures. So I guess, they don't mind.

COOPER: Well, you know, no doubt I was on Dave Letterman earlier. He does has a bunch of jokes about it tonight. But, I mean, I just -- it made me just feel bad for the president to be constantly on the microscope not even be able to get a work out in. I bet people videotape me at the gym or take pictures and I've asked them, look, you know I'll take a picture with you but like, the whole serve (inaudible) videotaping me, I mean it's just so cheesy, I don't know, I just feel bad for the guy.

Michelle, I'm amazed to see this video.


COOPER: Thanks so much.

Well it doesn't for us. We'll see you again at 11:00 eastern tonight for another edition of 360. I hope you join us. CNN Tonight starts now.