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Navy drops all charges against Eddie Gallagher's platoon commander
The Navy has dropped all charges against Lt. Jacob X. Portier, the former platoon commander for Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Eddie Gallagher, who had been accused of failing to report alleged war crimes up the chain of command, the Navy said on Thursday.
"Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson today dismissed all charges in the case of Lt. Jacob Portier. He also withheld authority to take any action in the case of Petty Officer 1st Class Corey Scott," a statement from the Navy read, also referencing the enlisted SEAL medic who prosecutors were considering charging with perjury over his surprising testimony during the Gallagher court-martial, in which he said he, not Gallagher, had killed a wounded ISIS fighter.
"Additionally, as part of an ongoing assessment of Judge Advocate General's (JAG) Corps performance, Richardson directed Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Bob Burke to conduct a Comprehensive Review into the leadership and performance of the JAG Corps. This review is intended to ensure the JAG Corps provides exemplary support to the Navy and the nation."
Portier's attorney, Jeremiah Sullivan, did not respond to a request for comment from Task & Purpose. Brian Ferguson, an attorney representing Scott, told Task & Purpose his client was "profoundly grateful the President and Chief of Naval Operations have intervened to exonerate LT Portier. LT Portier was a model of courage on the battlefield in the fight against ISIS and back home in the defense of his platoon."
The end of the Portier case comes after the attorney for the SEAL officer raised questions on Wednesday with the judge, Capt. Aaron Rugh, over possible unlawful command influence in the case that reached to the highest levels of the Navy.
Portier, who joined the Navy in 2010 and had been serving as a SEAL officer since 2012, had been charged with obstruction and other related charges for allegedly failing to report to his superiors on Gallagher, his platoon chief who had been accused of war crimes during a deployment to Iraq in 2017.
Portier has maintained his innocence and was scheduled to go to court martial in September. Gallagher was later found not guilty on the most serious charges.
Portier in a helmet cam video taken in Iraq in 2017, which was shown in the Gallagher court-martial
The news of charges being dropped was first reported by Andrew Dyer at San Diego Union-Tribune.
There is "some new evidence regarding UCI that we will be requesting the court to consider," Jeremiah Sullivan, Portier's civilian defense attorney, wrote in an email to the judge on Wednesday evening.
"The Defense has been made aware the Navy Judge Advocate General received an Letter of Instruction (LOI) or similar derogatory paperwork from the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) regarding the Gallagher case," he added.
"Also, there was a big meeting in DC hosted by the CNO were he counseled senior Judge Advocates about the JAGC's failures in the Gallagher case. Today, the Commodore of [Naval Special Warfare Group One] visited SEAL Teams to address issues of SEAL misconduct. We are gravely concerned about the CNO's actions and implications on LT Portier."
The Navy had tried Gallagher on allegations of murder, attempted murder, obstruction, and unlawfully posing for a photo with a corpse. The case, which was marred by setbacks that included the removal of the lead prosecutor, ended in July with Gallagher being found guilty only on the photo charge.
And in a stunning move on Wednesday, President Donald Trump ordered the Navy to rescind awards given to members of the Gallagher prosecution team, which he called "ridiculous."
Portier had been serving with SEAL Team 7 until he had been charged in Oct. 2018. It was not yet clear whether he would be returning to the unit.
Naval Special Warfare command did not not immediately respond to a request for comment.
This story has been updated.
The FBI is treating the recent shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, as a terrorist attack, several media outlets reported on Sunday.
"We work with the presumption that this was an act of terrorism," USA Today quoted FBI Agent Rachel Rojas as saying at a news conference.
WASHINGTON/SEOUL (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Sunday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un risks losing "everything" if he resumes hostility and his country must denuclearize, after the North said it had carried out a "successful test of great significance."
"Kim Jong Un is too smart and has far too much to lose, everything actually, if he acts in a hostile way. He signed a strong Denuclearization Agreement with me in Singapore," Trump said on Twitter, referring to his first summit with Kim in Singapore in 2018.
"He does not want to void his special relationship with the President of the United States or interfere with the U.S. Presidential Election in November," he said.
The three sailors whose lives were cut short by a gunman at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, on Friday "showed exceptional heroism and bravery in the face of evil," said base commander Navy Capt. Tim Kinsella.
Ensign Joshua Kaleb Watson, Airman Mohammed Sameh Haitham, and Airman Apprentice Cameron Scott Walters were killed in the shooting, the Navy has announced.
The Pentagon’s troop deployment denials means nothing when the White House screams ‘fake news’ all the time
The Pentagon has a credibility problem that is the result of the White House's scorched earth policy against any criticism. As a result, all statements from senior leaders are suspect.
We're beyond the point of defense officials being unable to say for certain whether a dog is a good boy or girl. Now we're at the point where the Pentagon has spent three days trying to knock down a Wall Street Journal story about possible deployments to the Middle East, and they've failed to persuade either the press or Congress.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that the United States was considering deploying up to 14,000 troops to the Middle East to thwart any potential Iranian attacks. The story made clear that President Trump could ultimately decide to send a smaller number of service members, but defense officials have become fixated on the number 14,000 as if it were the only option on the table.
This article originally appeared on Business Insider.
SIMI VALLEY, Calif. – Gen. David Berger, the US Marine Corps commandant, suggested the concerns surrounding a service members' use of questionable Chinese-owned apps like TikTok should be directed against the military's leadership, rather than the individual troops.
Speaking at the Reagan National Defense Forum in Simi Valley, California, on Saturday morning, Berger said the younger generation of troops had a "clearer view" of the technology "than most people give them credit for."
"That said, I'd give us a 'C-minus' or a 'D' in educating the force on the threat of even technology," Berger said. "Because they view it as two pieces of gear, 'I don't see what the big deal is.'"