Two San Diego-based U.S. Navy SEALs have been charged in connection with the 2017 execution of a detainee in Iraq.
SEAL officials told the Navy Times that Lt. Jacob “Jake” Portier faces an Article 32 hearing on suspicion of covering up a string of war crimes allegedly committed by Special Operations Chief Edward “Eddie” Gallagher.
The Naval Criminal Investigative Service probe involves the death of a wounded Islamic State fighter near Mosul, Iraq in May 2017, the Navy Times reported.
Prosecutors allege Gallagher stabbed and killed the wounded man, posed for a photograph next to the body and opted to complete his re-enlistment ceremony next to the corpse, bringing “discredit upon the armed forces.”
Gallagher is also accused of shooting two non-combatants in separate incidents near Mosul, the Navy Times reported.
An MCAS Miramar spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment.
Gallagher was arrested on Sept. 11 and is being detained at the Naval Consolidated Brig Miramar at the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, under Rules for Court-Martial 305, the Navy Times reported.
Portier, who is accused of dereliction of duty, was not present at the time of the alleged killing, the Navy Times reported. He was Gallagher’s platoon leader during the deployment and told investigators he learned about the alleged war crimes only after he was told about them by a special operator first class.
“Naval Special Warfare does not comment on specifics of an ongoing investigation in order to preserve its integrity, however all credible allegations of criminal activity are taken extremely seriously and thoroughly investigated,” Naval Special Warfare spokeswoman Cmdr. Tamara Lawrence told the Navy Times.
Between April and September in and around San Diego, Gallagher allegedly tried to “discourage members of his platoon from reporting his actions while in Iraq during his deployment,” according to the publication.