White House to Let Navy Decide Whether to Expel SEAL Eddie Gallagher

White House to Let Navy Decide Whether to Expel SEAL Eddie Gallagher

Washington (AFP) – The White House will let the US Navy decide whether to expel a member of its elite SEAL commando unit, a military official said Sunday.

Edward Gallagher had been accused of war crimes in a high-profile case but was found guilty only of a lesser offense.

On November 15, President Donald Trump reversed the demotion handed down to the 40-year-old due to his conviction.

On Sunday, the president appeared to hint he might intervene in Gallagher’s case, which has been championed by Fox News.

“Have no fear, all will end well for everyone!” Trump tweeted.

But a Navy spokesman told AFP that he could “confirm” that the Navy had been notified that the White House would not intervene in the process against Gallagher.

The Navy has launched a procedure under which a peer review board could strip Gallagher and three other members of his unit of their Trident pins — effectively booting them from the SEALS.

A rankled Trump declared on Twitter on Thursday that “The Navy will NOT be taking away Warfighter and Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher’s Trident Pin.”

Whether Gallagher can remain in the unit will be determined by a panel of Navy SEAL officers set to convene in December.

Gallagher, a 15-year navy SEAL, had been accused in the stabbing to death of a wounded Islamic State prisoner in Iraq in 2017, attempted murder of other civilians and obstruction of justice.

In July, he was acquitted of charges related to those accusations but was convicted of a lesser charge — posing with the slain fighter’s body in a group picture with other SEALs.

As a result, he was demoted one rank, from chief petty officer to petty officer first class.

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