"Take action to secure the release, or rescue, of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, using all means available, including force."
Those are the simple words of a complicated request in a petition on Whitehouse.gov.
I learned about the petition Tuesday morning when I noticed a Tweet I was mentioned in by Bob Bergdahl, Bowe's father who lives in Hailey.
Bergdahl Tweets often about current events in Pakistan and Afghanistan and reaches out to reporters based in those areas.
The petition was posted Jan. 17 and needs 100,000 signatures by Feb. 16.
As of 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, the petition had 3,559 signatures.
Any petition on Whitehouse.gov that gets 100,000 signatures or more will get an official response from the Whitehouse.
Recently, more attention was brought to Bowe's captivity when a so-called "proof of life" video surfaced.
In a November op-ed by U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, Crapo said, "my Senate colleagues and I continue to use every opportunity to press for (Bowe's release)."
Here's what Crapo, and U.S. Sen. James Risch, R-Idaho, said about their work in freeing Bowe in a July article by my colleague Brian Smith:
U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, said he and U.S. Sen. James Risch, R-Idaho, are working closely with federal officials on negotiations for Bowe. Many locals may feel disenfranchised because the two can’t say much about classified information, Crapo said.
“I don’t think there is any way to get around that,” the senator said. “We must protect the process by which our … officials are proceeding and not let information be leaked to … the enemy when it could cause an interference with our efforts.“
As to Horton’s question of why more congressmen aren’t using the media to keep Bowe in headlines, Crapo said he’s not sure that would be “helpful in facilitating the case.“
“Maintaining our ability to keep the information about our operations confidential I think is a higher priority,” he said.
John Sandy, Risch’s chief of staff, said the senator is monitoring the situation carefully but can’t say much because of his involvement on federal intelligence and foreign relations committees.
Staff for U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, did not respond to Times-News requests for a statement.
Crapo said he has spoken about Bowe with military leaders and intelligence officials at all levels in the U.S., Afghanistan and Pakistan, including those close to negotiations at the State Department and in the Pentagon.
“We can say it remains a priority for us to not only locate him and determine whether there’s a way to obtain his release, but also to work with any developments that come along the way if there are negotiations that could ultimately result in his release,” Crapo said.