- Retired Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher, who was acquitted of brutal war crimes, posted a video on Facebook and Instagram on Monday, labelling his former teammates “cowards.”
- “For those who have and continue to slander my name, the truth is coming,” he said.
- The video features clips of Navy investigators interviewing platoon members, who testified against him, and discloses their names, faces, and statuses in the SEAL teams.
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Retired Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher, who was acquitted of brutal war crimes, posted a video on social media on Monday, denigrating former teammates who testified against him by labelling them “cowards” and potentially endangering them by divulging sensitive information, including their names, photos, and statuses.
Gallagher was accused of stabbing a wounded and sedated teenage Islamic State fighter who was in US military custody and then ordering his platoon members – some of whom sounded the alarm against him – to gather around the body for a photograph. He was also charged with shooting civilians while deployed to Mosul, Iraq, in 2017, and warning his team against divulging his actions to investigators.
He was arrested after fellow Navy SEALs reported his alleged actions, but a jury acquitted him of all but one charge – posing with the ISIS fighter’s corpse.
Gallagher’s case also made headlines because he was one of three military veterans who was convicted or charged with war crimes but granted clemency by President Donald Trump in November. Trump’s intervention strained the president’s relationship with the Pentagon, but ensured that Gallagher’s rank was reinstated and blocked a review by top Navy SEALs that could have stripped him of his gold Trident pin, which signifies that he is a Navy SEAL. He recently launched a lifestyle brand called Salty Frog Gear.
In the 3-minute video montage that Gallagher shared on Facebook and Instagram, he says in a voiceover that although the trial “exposed all the lies that were said about me by certain cowards in my platoon,” people refuse to believe that he is not guilty.
Despite wanting to put this chapter behind him, Gallagher said, “Unfortunately, the fight to clear my name is not over.”
He then issued a warning of sorts: “The truth has never been fully exposed about what really happened. You may think you know but you have no idea. For those who have and continue to slander my name, the truth is coming.”
What’s especially alarming about Gallagher’s video is what comes next: videos of Navy investigators interviewing his fellow SEALs overlaid with the names, faces, and statuses of members of his former platoon.
Publicly sharing this information violates the elite group’s creed, which says in part that each member will “draw on every remaining ounce of strength to protect my teammates.” And Gallagher may well have jeopardized the safety of those Navy SEALs who are on active duty, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Navy Capt. Tamara Lawrence, a spokeswoman for Naval Special Warfare Command in San Diego, issued a statement to the Business Insider on Tuesday, saying: “As a matter of policy we do not identify our special operators. We don’t identify them by name, or by any other manner, due to the nature of their work, for the protection of their teammates and their families, and to protect on-going and future missions. Our Force knows this is our policy.”
The Tribune also interviewed David Shaw, a former petty officer 1st class who served with Gallagher but did not testify against him.
“Attempting to call attention to (those SEALs’) status in the way it’s been done does not serve the mission or the interests of the Navy,” Shaw told the newspaper. “To attempt to out (their) status raises questions about the decision to do so. Each and every one of the guys who came forward were performers of the highest calibre and people of the highest reputations within the platoon.”
Gallagher allegedly threatened to kill teammates who spoke against him in the run-up to the trial, according to court documents; Gallagher’s defence team called those claims “entirely fabricated.”
The New York Times in November spoke with Eric Deming, a retired senior chief petty officer, who echoed the sentiment.
“No one I’ve spoken to is happy with how Eddie handled this,” Deming said. “He could have handled it like a quiet professional. If the facts are on his side, he should trust in a board to make the right decision.”