In an upcoming 60 Minutes interview, retired Chief Petty Officer Eddie Gallagher — the Navy SEAL who was charged with murdering an ISIS prisoner in 2017 before his acquittal in 2019 — says that it was “wrong” for him to pose for photos with the dead ISIS fighter.
“It's wrong,” Gallagher told CBS News' David Martin in a preview of the segment, which is set to air on March 1. “I'll say it's wrong now. I've definitely learned my lesson. It's distasteful.”
Gallagher was accused of war crimes, including the fatal stabbing of an ISIS prisoner in his care and shooting at unarmed civilians, among other charges.
Ultimately, he was convicted on just one charge: Posing with the dead prisoner.
“I'm pretty sure I'm the first person ever to go to a general court-martial for it, for taking a picture,” Gallagher told CBS News. “It's been done on previous deployments.”
The allegations of war crimes emerged after it was revealed that Gallagher sent the photo to a friend along with a text that read: “Got him with my hunting knife.”
During his court-martial, Gallagher denied stabbing the prisoner. According to CBS News, he said “it was like a joke text, dark humor.”
Gallagher's court-martial was rocked by several unexpected twists and turns: first when the Navy's lead prosecutor Cmdr. Christopher Czaplak was ordered off the case amid accusations that he attempted to spy on defense attorneys and reporters; and later when Special Operator 1st Class Corey Scott, who was granted immunity to testify against Gallagher, stated that it was he, and not Gallagher, who had killed the wounded ISIS fighter.
The high-profile case drew the attention of President Donald Trump, who intervened on Gallagher's behalf several times, from ordering that the SEAL be released from confinement to restoring his rank and telling the Navy to allow Gallagher to retain his SEAL Trident — an order that resulted in the ouster of Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer.
Gallagher retired from the Navy at the end of November 2019.
When asked if he felt remorse for the slain ISIS fighter, Gallagher told CBS News, “No, that's war. He was trying to kill us.”