Attorney: Navy retaliating against SEAL helped by Trump

Nellie Chapman
November 21, 2019

If Gallagher is removed from the elite SEALs, he would either have to retire or find a different position in the Navy.

A military jury acquitted Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher of murder and war crimes charges in July but convicted him of having posed with the teenage ISIS fighter's corpse.

Edward Gallagher was accused of stabbing an unarmed 17-year-old Islamic State group prisoner to death and randomly shooting Iraqi civilians.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Rear Adm. Collin P. Green, commander of Naval Special Warfare Command, would issue an order Wednesday directing that a Trident Review Board be convened to determine whether to withdraw the emblem from Gallagher and the three other officers - Lt. Cmdr. Green, the Naval Special Warfare commander, made his intentions clear at a staff meeting Monday, defense attorney Timothy Parlatore said.

A USA official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter, said Gallagher and three other SEALs are likely to be notified on Wednesday that they must appear before a board that will decide whether they should be stripped of their SEAL status.

USA service members Army First Lieutenant Clint Lorance and Army Major Mathew Golsteyn, who were accused of war crimes, were also pardoned by Trump last week.

"If there's further action against Eddie, it's clearly a sign of insubordination because it's going against the president's intent, which is, 'You guys get your hands off Eddie, ' " Ed Hiner, a former Navy SEAL told NPR. They noted that discussions about convening a review board began shortly after Gallagher's conviction in July.

Green has the ability to pull Gallagher's Trident without a review board because he is an enlisted SEAL.

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If the board's decision goes against the men, they could ask the president to reverse it, NPR's Tom Bowman reports. Attorneys for Breisch and MacNeil could not be immediately reached for comment.

Breisch, Gallagher's troop commander, wasn't charged.

Earlier, he told ABC it was the "worst thing" they could do to Gallagher.

The trident review letter states Gallagher's conduct in taking photos with the body of the detainee he was accused of killing undermined "good order and discipline" and brought "discredit upon the armed forces".

The officials said that Green had sought support from officers in his chain of command prior to proceeding with the board process.

Others note Green and other high-ranking officials are committed to making an example of Gallager and his supervisors, to convey that misbehavior will not go unpunished, regardless of the president's protection. The review boards´ recommendations will be sent to Green. The board's written recommendations are forwarded to the head of Naval Special Warfare Command for final endorsement and routing. Still it would be considered a mark on their career that they were cast out of the prestigious force.

The Navy has revoked 154 Trident pins since 2011.

Naval Special Warfare spokeswoman, Capt. Tamara Lawrence, said in a statement that Green 'remains focused on delivering a capable, ready, and lethal maritime special operations force in support of national security objectives, which includes assessing the suitability of any member of his force via administrative processes'.

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