Second Navy SEAL Charged For War Crimes in Iraq
Over a dozen Navy SEALs sent to Iraq between last year and early this year are being investigated.
An ongoing investigation into war crimes allegedly committed in Iraq in 2017 has turned up another suspect, according to the Navy Times. This time around it is Lt. Jacob “Jake” Portier, a Navy SEAL officer accused of covering up the unauthorized killing of an ISIS fighter in detention. The stabbing execution was allegedly carried out by Special Operations Chief Edward “Eddie” Gallagher, an enlisted SEAL leader.
The killing was reported to have allegedly taken place in the Iraqi city Mosul last year. Portier did not personally witness the killing, but Navy authorities accuse him of dereliction of duty for not reporting the incident.
Senior Commissioned and Enlisted Officers May Also Be Facing Probes over Iraq
The Navy Times reported that according to his charge sheet, Gallagher was accused of stabbing to death a seized ISIS fighter who had been placed in detention. Naval Criminal Investigative Service prosecutors said that the 39-year-old Navy SEAL posed for a photo with the slain body and even operated an aerial drone for the photo. The officer is equally accused of several other aggravated assaults for which he will soon be tried.
Gallagher was arrested on September 11 and is currently detained at the Naval Consolidated Brig Miramar in San Diego. He allegedly killed the Islamic State fighter on May 3, 2017, and then shot a male civilian on June 18, 2017. Later the next month, he gunned down a female civilian. When asked who the alleged victims were and whether anything had been done to treat their wounds, SEAL leaders declined to comment to the Navy Times.
To underscore the seriousness of the matter, Gallagher is not the only officer being probed over the war crimes committed by Navy SEALs in Iraq last year. The Navy Times reported over a dozen SEALs sent to Iraq between last year and early this year are being investigated. This includes senior commissioned and enlisted officers who dealt with war crime accusations within the Naval Special Warfare Group 1.
Naval Special Warfare command spokeswoman Commander Tamara Lawrence would not answer specific queries on the investigation, citing the need “to preserve its integrity,” as stated in an email to the Navy Times. NCIS also refused to comment on the issue to the Navy Times, stating that it is better to remain silent until all investigations are concluded.
Gallagher’s Case Is Compounded by Possession of Controlled Substances
Jeremiah J. Sullivan III, Portier’s civilian defense attorney, stated that there is no reason for the authorities to prosecute his client over Gallagher’s misdemeanors. “Lt. Portier’s combat service to our country warrants a medal, not a charge sheet,” he said. And furthermore, Portier has not been charged with obstructing justice where Gallagher is concerned, while Gallagher himself faces three charges of obstructing justice over his sordid activities in Iraq.
To make matters worse for Gallagher, he is charged with abusing unlawful drugs while in active combat in Iraq. These controlled substances include Tramadol Hydrochloride and Sustanon-250, which were detected when NCIS officials searched his house.
“Unauthorized drug possession and/or use is prohibited for all service members, and all sailors must comply with the Navy’s drug policy,” Lawrence responded. “Naval Special Warfare holds its service members to the highest standards of personal and professional conduct and abides by the Navy drug testing system and associated disciplinary and administrative processes.”