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NCIS agent taken off Green Beret murder investigation for reportedly being romantically involved with a witness
An NCIS agent was removed from the investigation into the June 2017 hazing death of Special Forces Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar for reportedly having a romantic relationship with a witness.
The Daily Beast reporter Kevin Maurer first reported that defense attorneys for two of the special operators charged with murder and other offenses in connection with Melgar's death will argue that the NCIS agent became romantically involved with the witness, who worked in the intelligence community.
NCIS spokesman Jeff Houston confirmed to Task & Purpose that an agent had been removed from the case but he declined to say why.
"Upon receipt of a credible misconduct allegation, NCIS immediately removed the agent from the investigation and referred the matter for appropriate action, consistent with applicable Human Resources guidelines and policies," Houston said in a statement.
"Out of respect for the ongoing investigative and judicial processes, NCIS will not comment further until those processes have concluded."
An Article 32 hearing for Navy Special Operations Chief Tony DeDolph and Gunnery Sgt. Mario Madera-Rodriguez began on Monday and could last until Tuesday, said Elizabeth Baker, a spokeswoman for Navy Region Navy Region Mid-Atlantic.
Navy prosecutors declined to discuss how the alleged relationship between the NCIS agent and the witness could affect the Melgar case, Baker told Task & Purpose on Monday.
Prior to Monday's hearing, DeDolph's civilian attorney Phillip Stackhouse told Task & Purpose that he would bring up the issue with the NCIS agent in court.
"Remedies at the Article 32 are limited; however, credibility is always a relevant decision making role," Stackhouse said on Sunday.
Madera-Rodriguez's civilian attorney Colby Vokey could not be reached for comment.
Melgar died on June 4, 2017 in Bamako, Mali, after DeDolph and Madera-Rodriguez broke into his room along with two other U.S. troops, a British special operator, and a Malian security guard, all of whom planned to bind Melgar with duct tape and make a video of him being sexually assaulted. DeDloph is accused of placing Melgar in a chokehold until he died.
Navy Special Operator 2nd Class Adam Matthews was sentenced to one year in prison, reduction in rank to E-5, and a possible bad conduct discharge. Matthews is also under investigation for allegedly trying to manipulate Melgar's widow by discussing the case with her without revealing that he was charged with her husband's death.
Marine Pvt. Kevin Maxwell Jr. was sentenced to four years in prison, reduction in rank to E-1, and a bad conduct discharge.
This is the second high profile case where an investigator has been accused of misconduct. Army Spc. Mark Delacruz pleaded guilty in May to wearing the Purple Heart and other decorations he had not earned. Delacruz had been the Army's lead investigator in the Maj. Matthew Golsteyn murder case.
Golsteyn is charged with murder for acknowledging he killed an unarmed Afghan man, whom he believed was a Taliban bomb-maker who intended to kill an Afghan tribal leader. President Donald Trump has called Golsteyn, a "U.S. military hero."
The U.S. Space Force has a name tape for uniforms now. Get excited people.
In a tweet from its official account, the Space Force said its uniform name tapes have "touched down in the Pentagon," sharing a photo of it on the chest of Gen. John W. Raymond, the newly-minted Chief of Space Operations for the new service branch nested in the Department of the Air Force.
PALM BEACH, Fla. (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump gave a minute-to-minute account of the U.S. drone strikes that killed Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani in remarks to a Republican fund-raising dinner on Friday night, according to audio obtained by CNN.
With his typical dramatic flourish, Trump recounted the scene as he monitored the strikes from the White House Situation Room when Soleimani was killed.
The U.S. Navy will name its fourth Ford-class aircraft carrier after Doris Miller, an iconic World War II sailor recognized for his heroism during the Pearl Harbor attack, according to reports in The Honolulu Star-Advertiser and U.S. Naval Institute News.
Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly is expected to announce the naming of CVN-81 during a ceremony on Monday in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, according to USNI. Two of Miller's nieces are expected to be there, according to the Star-Advertiser.
Two immigrants, a pastor and an Army sergeant have been convicted of conspiracy to commit marriage fraud as part of an illegal immigration scheme, according to federal prosecutors.
Rajesh Ramcharan, 45; Diann Ramcharan, 37; Sgt. Galima Murry, 31; and the Rev. Ken Harvell, 60, were found guilty Thursday after a nine-day jury trial, according to a news release from the U.S. attorney's office in Colorado.
The conspiracy involved obtaining immigration benefits for Rajesh Ramcharan, Diann Ramcharan, and one of their minor children, the release said. A married couple in 2007 came to the U.S. from Trinidad and Tobago on visitor visas. They overstayed the visas and settled in Colorado.
DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran said on Saturday it was sending to Ukraine the black boxes from a Ukrainian passenger plane that the Iranian military shot down this month, an accident that sparked unrest at home and added to pressure on Tehran from abroad.
Iran's Tasnim news agency also reported the authorities were prepared for experts from France, Canada and the United States to examine information from the data and voice recorders of the Ukraine International Airlines plane that came down on Jan. 8.
The plane disaster, in which all 176 aboard were killed, has added to international pressure on Iran as it grapples with a long running row with the United States over its nuclear program that briefly erupted into open conflict this month.