A Navy SEAL who allegedly staged a re-enlistment ceremony over the body of a dead Islamic State prisoner during the Battle of Mosul in Iraq and also hovered a drone over the corpse may have acted in “poor taste” but didn’t commit a war crime, a Navy judge has ruled.
On Friday, two military judges delivered a pair of big wins for two Navy SEALs on trial for alleged war crimes by tossing out key charges against the special operator at the center of the case, Chief Special Warfare Operator Edward “Eddie” Gallagher, and the officer in charge of his platoon, Lt. Jacob X. “Jake” Portier, who stands accused of covering up the incidents. . .
Military prosecutors charged Portier with lying to his superior officer, Lt. Cmdr. Robert Breisch, about whether he saw “anything criminal” at Gallagher’s reenlistment ceremony. Portier allegedly said: “There was nothing criminal. It was just in poor taste,” according to investigative files obtained by Navy Times. . .
The origin of the sprawling war crimes investigation is murky, but appears to have started with allegations lodged by a special warfare operator first class — an SO1. . .
The way the SO1 recollected events — and reported them to Naval Criminal Investigative Service agents — the seeds of the scandal began to grow in Iraq in 2017, when he and others from SEAL Team 7’s Platoon Alpha voiced concerns about Gallagher’s conduct, according to an NCIS “investigative action” provided to Navy Times. (Read more from “Military Judges’ Dual Rulings Cripple Cases Against Navy SEALS Accused of War Crimes” HERE)