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Rep. Duncan Hunter: Navy SEAL accused of war crimes 'did one bad thing that I'm guilty of, too'
Marine veteran turned congressman Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) made an unusual admission during a town hall meeting over the weekend: He'd absolutely taken a photo of himself with the body of a dead enemy combatant while deployed overseas potentially in violation of the Pentagon's rules.
Speaking during a meeting on border issues in the southern California town of Ramona on Saturday, Hunter was commenting on the case of Naval Special Warfare Chief Edward "Eddie" Gallagher, the Navy SEAL accused of war crimes that include snapping photos with the body of a captured ISIS fighter after allegedly stabbing him to death with a hunting knife.
Gallagher "did one bad thing that I'm guilty of, too — taking a picture of the body and saying something stupid," Hunter said, adding that he had taken photos "just like that when I was overseas," according to the Times of San Diego.
As Task & Purpose previously reported, Gallagher allegedly posed next to the body of a 15-year-old ISIS fighter before carrying out his reenlistment ceremony, texting a photo of himself cradling the dead fighter's head in one hand and boasting that he "got him with my hunting knife."
As the Washington Post notes, posing next to the body of a dead combatant runs counter to the Pentagon's Law of War Manual, which stipulates that "the handling and burial of enemy military dead must be discharged with the same respect as would be afforded to, or expected for, friendly military dead."
But it's worth noting that the Navy judge presiding over the Gallagher case ruled in February that taking photographs of or conducting a reenlistment ceremony over an enemy corpse doesn't rise to the level of "prohibited acts" under Article 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
In this April 7, 2011 file photo, Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington.(Associated Press/Carolyn Kaster)
"The judge is saying that two of the specs under charge 3, the [Article] 134 violation, did not rise to the level of war crimes," Navy spokesman Brian O'Rourke told Task & Purpose at the time. "The judge said 'these are in extremely bad taste, and you should have known better.'"
Lt. Jacob Portier, who faces charges of dereliction of duty amid claims that he covered up Gallagher's alleged crimes, reportedly told his superior officer the same thing, according to documents obtained by Navy Times: "It was just in poor taste."
Gallagher's case reached the pubic eye after the New York Times reported in mid-May that President Donald Trump was considering a presidential pardon not just for Gallagher, but two other U.S. service members accused of war crimes.
Hunter, who was indicted last year for bogarting upwards of $250,000 in campaign funds for personal use, has strongly advocated for a pardon for Gallagher since the Navy initiated proceedings against Gallagher.
Just before 8 a.m. on a Sunday morning 78 years ago, Lauren Bruner was preparing for church services and a date that would follow with a girl he'd met outside his Navy base.
The 21-year-old sailor was stationed as a fire controlman aboard the U.S. battleship USS Arizona, overseeing the vessel's .50-caliber guns.
Then alarms rang out. A Japanese plane had bombed the ship in a surprise attack.
It took only nine minutes for the Arizona to sink after the first bomb hit. Bruner was struck by gunfire while trying to flee the inferno that consumed the ship, the second-to-last man to escape the explosion that killed 1,177, including his best friend; 335 survived.
More than 70% of Bruner's body was burned. He was hospitalized for weeks.
Now, nearly eight decades after that fateful day, Bruner's ashes will be delivered to the sea that cradled his fallen comrades, stored in an urn inside the battleship's wreckage.
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Business Insider.
Joshua Kaleb Watson has been identified as one of the victims of a shooting at the Naval Air Station Pensacola, CBS News reported.
The 23-year-old Alabama native and Naval Academy graduate was named to the Academy's prestigious Commandant's and Dean's lists, and also competed on the rifle team, Alabama's WTVY reported.
NAS Pensacola shooter railed against the US and quoted Osama bin Laden online hours before the attack
PENSACOLA, Fla. (Reuters) - The Saudi airman accused of killing three people at a U.S. Navy base in Florida appeared to have posted criticism of U.S. wars and quoted slain al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden on social media hours before the shooting spree, according to a group that monitors online extremism.
Federal investigators have not disclosed any motive behind the attack, which unfolded at dawn on Friday when the Saudi national is said to have began firing a handgun inside a classroom at the Naval Air Station Pensacola.
NAS Pensacola shooter reportedly hosted a 'dinner party' to watch mass shooting videos the week before the attack
The Saudi military officer who shot and killed 3 people at Naval Air Station Pensacola on Friday reportedly hosted a "dinner party" the week before the attack "to watch videos of mass shootings," the Associated Press reports, citing an unnamed U.S. official.
The Minnesota National Guard has released the names of the three soldiers killed in Thursday's helicopter crash.