White House aides have accused members of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's unit of “swift-boating” the 28-year-old Idahoan for claiming that he deserted his post in Afghanistan nearly five years ago, MSNBC's Chuck Todd reported.

"I've had a few aides describe it to me as 'we didn't know that they were going to swift-boat Bergdahl,'" Todd said Wednesday.

The term "swift-boating" comes from 2004 when members of then-Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry's Swift Boat unit came forward during the election to accuse him of misleading American voters about his service in Vietnam.

Members of the press and Democratic operatives claimed at the time that the effort to discredit Kerry’s military service was nothing more than a shadowy conspiracy and later dubbed the effort “swift-boating.”

“So there’s some fighting words there,” Todd said.

Todd later confirmed on Twitter that White House aides did indeed use the term “swift boat:"


National security adviser Susan Rice and other White House officials have praised Bergdahl's service since Saturday's announcement of his release from captivity, but the Army is investigating the circumstances and he may yet face charges stemming from his actions.