ATLANTA – 11Alive News has learned of a possible Georgia connection to the controversial deal to free captured U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl of Idaho.
Loganville Sergeant First Class Mark Allen of the Georgia National Guard's 48th Brigade Combat Team was badly wounded and paralyzed by a sniper's bullet in July of 2009 only a month after arriving in Afghanistan.
Apparently, it was while helping to search for Bergdahl, who had vanished from another unit on the night of June 30, 2009.
His wife, Shannon, declined to talk about whether Bergdahl's disappearance contributed to her husband's life-changing injuries.
But others with ties to Bergdahl's unit are doing plenty of talking…and finger pointing.
Some blame him for the deaths of at least 6 U.S. soldiers killed during those search missions.
"I have frustration that potentially he could still be alive if Bergdahl had not left his post," Texan Jarrett Andrews told NBC News.
He was talking about the combat death of his twin brother, 2nd. Lt. Darryn Andrews.
"We lost somebody that we love very much," Andrews said.
"He willfully left; he had premeditated, planned it out and left," said Joshua Cornelison, who was a medic in Bergdahl's unit.
"He deserted not only the army, but he also left myself and my platoon and my company to clean up his mess," Cornelison told NBC.
Cornelison and others in the same unit say Bergdahl took off while he was supposed to be on guard duty.
There's growing criticism over the release of five high-ranking Taliban prisoners in exchange for Bergdahl.
During a visit to Poland on Tuesday, President Barack Obama said the circumstances of the soldier's disappearance were not important.
"Regardless of the circumstances, whatever those circumstances may turn out to be, we still got an American soldier back if he's held in captivity. Period, full stop, we don't condition that," the President told reporters.
Meanwhile, Sgt. Bergdahl is being physically and psychologically evaluated at the same U.S. Army hospital in Germany where Georgia Guard SFC Mark Allen was flown after being badly injured in Afghanistan five years ago.
Some, including Bergdahl's hometown of Hailey, Idaho, are urging people to give him the benefit of the doubt until all the facts are known.
The U.S. military says it will investigate the circumstances that led to his captivity.
Georgia Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss, in his last year in office, is furious at the deal, and furious at the President, for not informing Congress in advance. So are Democrats.
Chambliss, the Vice Chair of the Intelligence Committee, and the Committee Chair, Democrat Dianne Feinstein of California, both say the President was wrong not to inform Congress in advance about the trade.
At the U.S. Capitol Tuesday, a reporter asked Chambliss, "Senator, the White House says you all were kept in the loop. Were you?"
Chambliss said, "The White House is wrong about that. I hadn't had a conversation with the White House on this issue in a year and a half. And if that's keeping us in the loop, then, you know, this administration is more arrogant than I thought they were."
"It comes with some surprise and dismay," Feinstein said, "that the transfers went ahead with no consultation, totally not following the law."
Chambliss warned that the five Taliban members may kill again.
"You can't undo what the President has done. And I think the long-term potential for damage is enormous."
Senator Chambliss is calling on the President to de-classify the files on the five Taliban members because that, Chambliss said, will show the American people see how dangerous a threat they are.
Here are excerpts from comments Chambliss made to reporters Tuesday:
As Americans, we're all very pleased that Sgt. Bergdahl's going to be reunited with his family.... But the fact of the matter is that a very dangerous precedent has been set here by this administration.These five individuals are not low-level, run of the mill, fighter type terrorists. These are the guys that raised the money that made the plans to develop the IEDs, and in some cases are accused of inciting riots that wound up killing not hundreds but maybe even thousands of people, including Americans.I'm going to send a letter to the President, and I'm going to demand that he declassify each of the classified files on these five individuals. So that all of you will have access to that and the American people will know what each one of these individuals was accused of.... And let the American people know why, in the eyes of the President, he was justified in returning these five individuals to the fight.Reporter: Senator, the White House says you all were kept in the loop. Were you?
Chambliss: The White House is wrong about that. I hadn't had a conversation with the White House on this issue in a year and a half. And if that's keeping us in the loop, then, you know, this administration is more arrogant than I thought they were.I think there were other negotiating tools that could have been used to accomplish the same result.The Taliban picked these five individuals out and said, "Mr. President, we'll give you the Sergeant for these five," what I've referred to as the Fab Five.... to carry out acts of terrorism to kill and harm Americans.I got a phone call last night apologizing for not giving us advanced warning of it. It was from a high-level White House individual.Reporter: What, specifically, did they apologize for?
Chambliss: They apologized for not -- They said it had just been called to their attention that I had not received advanced notification of this transaction taking place.Well, I mean, you can't undo what the President has done, so, ah, they said we'll give it to you next time.... You can't undo what the President has done. And I think the long-term potential for damage is enormous.