Hagel on the offensive: "Sgt. Bergdahl has rights"
Hagel, in his opening statement, is trying to punch holes in some of the complaints about the trade.
He's addressing the allegations that Bergdahl intentionally left his base shortly before the Taliban captured him in 2009 -- and in a sense he's saying those allegations are immaterial to the question of whether the United States should have traded for him.
"Questions about Sgt. Bergdahl's capture are... separate from our effort to recover him, because we do whatever it takes to recover any and every U.S. service member held in captivity," Hagel said.
"Sgt. Bergdahl has rights, and his conduct will be judged on the facts, not political hearsay, posturing, charges or innuendo," he added.