HUD official tweet: Was Bergdahl’s unit ‘long on psychopaths’?

A HUD official sent out a series of tweets Wednesday evening defending Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl against criticism that he is a traitor who abandoned his post before being taken captive by the Taliban in Afghanistan, suggesting in one the possibility Bergdahl's platoon may have been "long on psychopaths and short on leadership."

He later apologized for his tweets.

Brandon Friedman, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, sent out five tweets on the topic Wednesday evening on his personal Twitter account. They are embedded below:

 

 

 

 

Bergdahl was released from Taliban custody Saturday after nearly five years in captivity. In exchange, the U.S. government released five Afghan inmates from the Guantanamo detention center. They must remain in Qatar for at least a year.

Bergdahl disappeared from his platoon in 2009 in Afghanistan after apparently becoming disillusioned with the U.S. military effort there. He has faced criticism over his decision by veterans and soldiers who served with him.

A biography posted on Friedman's Tumblr page says he served in Afghanistan and Iraq as "an infantry platoon leader and executive officer in the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division." He also worked for the group VoteVets.org.

In a statement released by HUD Thursday afternoon, Friedman said he regretted offering his comments in the manner he made them. Here's his full statement:

"I’d like to clarify tweets I wrote last night on my personal Twitter account concerning the return of Bowe Bergdahl.  First, I do not speak for the Administration on national security issues in any capacity—public or personal.  As a former infantry officer and combat veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan, I have only the highest regard for our servicemen and women.  They are my friends, my colleagues, my mentors, my brothers, and sisters.  While I just wanted to make the point that the public should wait before passing judgment, I unfortunately used my own poor judgment in choosing inappropriate language that many view as disparaging to U.S. service members.   That was certainly not my intent and I regret making the comments on my personal account in such a way.  I apologize to those with whom I work in the Administration, at HUD, and, most importantly, to any service members who took offense.”

 Related: Taliban video shows Bergdahl handover to U.S.

 Updated at 3:45 p.m. 

Sean Sullivan covers national politics for “The Fix.”
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