Navy orders probe into actions of Judge Advocate General Corps leaders

| August 2, 2019

gallgher and wife
Special Warfare Operator Chief Edward “Eddie” Gallagher, left, and his wife Andrea hug after leaving the Naval Base San Diego courthouse on July 2. (Gregory Bull/AP)

The CNO, Adm. John Richardson, has dropped all charges against Navy SEAL Lt. Jacob X. Portier, who was to face a courts-martial in September on charges related to the case against Navy SEAL Chief Edward R. Gallagher. Richardson also ordered a full review of the Navy’s Judge Advocate General Corps, (JAG) the judicial system for the military.

Portier’s charges were related to Gallagher’s case, including conduct unbecoming an officer, for allegedly conducting Gallagher’s reenlistment ceremony near a dead enemy combatant — the same fighter Gallagher was found not guilty of murdering.

He was also charged with dereliction of duty because, prosecutors say, he failed to supervise Gallagher that day. He also was charged with failure to report war crimes allegations against Gallagher and with obstruction of justice for allegedly destroying evidence.

Portier denied all the charges and pleaded not guilty. He was set to be in court Friday for a motions hearing before Richardson dropped the charges.

“Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson today dismissed all charges in the case of Lt. Jacob Portier,” a Navy statement said Thursday. “Richardson took this action in the best interest of justice and the Navy.”

A Navy spokesman said the decision was from Richardson, and not the Oval Office. Richardson also ordered a full review of the Navy’s Judge Advocate General Corps.

In a sweeping series of measures announced Thursday night, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson dismissed all charges against a SEAL officer charged with covering up war crimes, stopped the ongoing probe of another special operator petty officer and ordered a comprehensive investigation into the performance of Navy JAG leaders.

“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,” the prepared statement read.

Scott was the SEAL who confessed on the witness stand during the court-martial trial of Special Warfare Operator Chief Edward “Eddie” Gallagher to murdering a detainee in Iraq in 2017.

Navy officials in San Diego quickly leaked to media outlets that they were starting a perjury probe into Scott’s sworn testimony.

But the military jury hearing Gallagher’s case was swayed by his candid confession that he blocked the breathing tube of a wounded Islamic State fighter so that he wouldn’t be tortured to death later by Iraqi forces.

The statement indicated that Richardson “took this action in the best interest of justice and the Navy.”

“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,” the statement concluded.

On July 2, a military panel of his peers at Gallagher’s San Diego court-martial trial cleared him on premeditated murder, obstruction of justice and all but one other charge tied to a 2017 deployment with Alpha Platoon, SEAL Team 7, to Iraq.

Gallagher, 40, was found guilty only of appearing in a photograph that depicted him near a dead Islamic State prisoner of war, an allegation he never denied.

A rear admiral continues to mull his sentence and the Navy’s statement on Thursday didn’t address his ongoing litigation.

Richardson also stripped the authority to prosecute SEAL Petty Officer 1st Class Corey Scott away from Region Legal Service Office Southwest. Navy authorities had considered the viability of prosecuting him for perjury after he testified that he, and not Gallagher, killed the wounded ISIS fighter in Iraq.

Here comes the “Loss of Confidence to Lead” train, and it’s not slowing down. Read the entire article here: Navy Times

Category: Afghanistan, Government Incompetence, Isis, Military issues, Navy, Terror War, Veterans in the news

Comments (39)

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  1. ChipNASA says:

    WOW.
    The shit train is about to derail.
    I wonder how their nice white uniforms will look when they are turned brown.

  2. Ex-PH2 says:

    Idiots. Fell all over themselves to get someone convicted and it backfired on them.

    Now they’re getting what they tried to hand out? Good. Couldn’t be happier, here in my kingdom.

    • Anonymous says:

      Punitive prosecution of some guy because they couldn’t shoot and pose with a dead terrorist like he could gets expensive in 3… 2… 1…

  3. Bob Drennan says:

    So he didn’t order the Mtn Dew Code Red?

  4. 5th/77th FA says:

    NAVY ORDERS PROBES…Wow… Is this more of that homoerotic action that was talked about by Truth in the other thread? Should we be concerned? aroused? Get underway? Be at the pier? Buy stock in the San Diego dry cleaners? Pretty sure that SWO Chief Gallagher did some probing with Andrea FIRST chance he got. Maybe she is why all the phonies want to claim to be a SEAL. Haven’t seen a Real Deal SEAL yet that didn’t have a hottie.

    Glad some more truth came out about this sh^t show. The national news last night brought this case up while referencing the Team that was being sent home. They were trying to tie all of this together and still hang SWO Chief Eddie. Any body wanna place a wager that every case these Navy JAG lawers have touched will come under review?

    • Anonymous says:

      “Why is it that everything today has to do with things either going in or coming out of my ass?” –Eric Cartman

  5. A Proud Infidel®™ says:

    Now they’re getting their asses handed to them, s’about time!

  6. HMCS(FMF) ret says:

    IT’S ABOUT FUCKING TIME!

    – Shitcan the CO of the NLSO handling the case
    – Investigate every person that had anything to do with the Gallagher case and punish them if they engaged in misconduct.
    – CDR Christopher Czaplak should be dismissed from the service and his state bar should be notified about his actions in the case.

    The Navy JAG Corps gets to wear this badge of dishonor for a long, long time.

  7. reddevil says:

    Again, none of you want to hear this, but this is another monumentally bad move.

    If the prosecutors violated law or regulation, investigate them. Don’t publicly put the entire system in doubt.

    Think about it this way: The president and the CNO both publicly stated that the Navy JAG Corps is incompetent and corrupt. Right now there are probably thousands of defendants with cases that aren’t going their way, and they now have grounds to claim either undue command influence or prosecutorial misconduct.

    You may think Portier is awesome and he did nothing wrong- if you do you haven’t read much about what his platoon did and what the platoon members had to say about it.

    This is bad, very bad, for the Navy, the JAG Corps, and the Special Warfare community. Thucydides said that the veneer of civilization is very thin, and war brings us closer to savagery. One of the reasons we fight ISIS and have no confidence in the security forces in the Middle East is because of the way they treat prisoners and operate on the battlefield.

    We used to hear stories about how the Japanese, Germans, Koreans, Chinese, Vietnamese, and even Al Qaeda/ISIS treated prisoners and call them savages. Now we watch a video of a bunch of SEALs flying a drone over a corpse and think it’s cool.

    • Forest Green says:

      Something is afoot. Not only is the JAG Corps under the spotlight, but the SW Community as well. None of this bodes well at all.

      https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/top-us-navy-seal-tells-commanders-in-light-of-misconduct-we-have-a-problem/ar-AAFbAGp?li=BBnb2gh

      • redddevil says:

        Yes. There is a problem, and it ai’t with the JAG corps.

        The JAG officers in the Gallagher case screwed it up. No doubt it was prosecutorial misconduct and there may be other crimes there.

        Eddie Gallagher’s SEAL platoon, by their own admission, committed war crimes- lots of them. There are lots of other allegations against Gallagher from previous deployments and this is not an isolated incident among the SEALS.

        It goes far beyond not boding well. There are overt signs of serious, existential problems for the SEALs and Navy Special Warfare writ large. Blaming the lawyers for screwing up the investigation is not helping.

        We live in a nation that has a $1T (Trillion with a T) deficit. Our defense spending is astronomical. Our Congressional masters are looking for any way to save a million bucks here or there. Disbanding a SEAL Team that seems to do nothing but F up and spend that money on another F-35 might seem like a bargain.

        Don’t blame the lawyers that overstepped their bounds, look at the operators that should have known better. These aren’t privates on their first deployment under an E6 on his second, these are supposed to be our best and brightest. There is no room for this kind of ass-jackery.

        The ‘boys will be boys’ attitude has no place among men of action. Keep your junk in your pants, keep your opinions to yourself, stay sober in public, and don’t share pics or videos of yourself violating the first three rules. It ain’t really that hard.

        • 11B-Mailclerk says:

          Why is it bad to spotlight systemic wrongdoing in JAG but good to spotlight wrongdoing in SW?

          JAG is essential, global to the military, and has to be relatively clean. SW is a niche.

          I had a Pacific Theater Marine as an acquaintance. What was alleged in the SEAL case is kinda tame compared to what I have learned of what went before.

  8. Dragoon 45 says:

    After watching Army JAG operate in Afghanistan, and reading about the other services JAG Corps and their never ending witch hunts, I have to say this action is overdue by at least 15 years. When an Army Cpt JAG has veto power over anything a Brigade CMDR proposes to do in an operation, things are indeed very rotten. In truth the JAG Corps of all of the services are nothing more than Zampolits now and have been for at least the last 15 years. It is long overdue that they be put back into their place as advisors to the CMDR and only file charges against a service member after a thorough and honest 15-6 Investigation.

    • HMCS(FMF) ret says:

      AMEN!

    • reddevil says:

      You are wrong. JAG offers do not have ‘veto power’ over brigade (or any other) commanders.

      For one thing, there is no such authority. Commanders command, staff officers advise.

      The Staff Judge Advocate is Personal Staff, meaning they have direct access to the commander, just like the Chaplain and CSM. However, they are still staff officers, and have no authority whatsoever to issue orders, directives, or policy.

      You may have had or heard of a brigade commander that placed too much stock in what their SJA had to say. That is the commander’s prerogative, but it is not ‘veto power’.

      Some commanders place too much stock in what their NCOs say, what other staff officers say, and some don’t listen to their staff at all. All within a commander’s wheelhouse. Commanders Command, staffs analyze, advise, and administrate.

      • Dragoon 45 says:

        I’ve personally seen a JAG Cpt tell a Bde Cmdr he could not do something during the Cmdr’s Intent phase of MDMP on more than one occasion in country. Reg’s may say they can’t do that, but in actual practice it happens all the time. And Cmdrs are scared to death to cross a JAG Officer, no matter the rank.

        • reddevil says:

          Essentially what you are saying is that an operational law attorney advised a commander that something was unethical or illegal.

          You are conflating many concepts to make your point.

          Commanders are not scared of JAG officers. Were you a commander? Were you scared of crossing your JAG officer?

        • reddevil says:

          Did that commander roll over and say ‘geeze, this captain just told me I can’t do my professional military judgment indicates is best and I clearly have the authority to execute”? Did he say that when the S-2 said the enemy was mean? Did he halt operations for the day when the Chaplain said the men we tired? What about when the SHARP advisor told him that someone’s feeling got hurt?

          If all of the above are true, you had a commander unworthy of the title, and if you were there in any capacity , you were a poor staff officer or NCO

        • reddevil says:

          I can’t get past what you are saying here. If you were a member of this staff and let this get by, you were neglecting your duty. It really pisses me off. You let that happen when lives were on the line, but years later you are going to mouth off about it on an Internet forum where no one knows who you are and you can front as some sort of battle hardened warrior.

          If that happened, and you were present and below the rank one E-4, I would submit that you have no clue what you are talking about. If you were an NCO or God help us all an officer, then you were negligent. Which is it?

          • 11B-Mailclerk says:

            If the higher commanders clearly signal “don’t piss off JAG” or are otherwise squeebs, and the climate is “whipped” to it, and anyone bucking it gets trashed, do you see how the “go along” happens?

            And it does. And I have had long-service acquaintances in every branch who describe just such things.

            I bucked my own First Sergeant on something as a PFC. I thought it was a hill to die on. If a couple of -good- officers and -good- NCOs had not had my back, I would have been -squashed-.

            That good combo is not universal.

            If the command at the top is a shit-matrix, that crap runs downhill, as only the go-alongs move up. Pretty soon, the Word is out, and survival requires not rocking that boat. What good you can do depends on sticking around, etc.

            They usually don’t compromise people in one swooping slash. It is a death of a thousand cuts.

            Are you saying you never went along with something wrong? Never? Never said, “this is wrong, but not wrong enough to fall on my sword”?

            I served with a bunch of NCOs and a few officers that had been in the latter years of Vietnam. “Never another ‘Nam” was a frequent theme. The corrupters and corruption were still there. Waiting. Laughing, I suspect.

            That was -peacetime-. I can only imagine, and refer to acquaintance witness, that sustained combat is far, far more corrosive to behavioral norms.

            All the more reason to keep our wars -short- and -victorious-, and our leaders -virtuous-.

            It is going to take 20+ years to un-SNAFU the current mess. Because we are right back where we started. We have Hollowed-out forces highly-focused on ticking boxes and sustaining the status quo, and not making waves. “Victory” is a quaint memory, and “look good” and “don’t make higher look bad” are the goals.

            Results speak for themselves.

            • OldSoldier54 says:

              Yep. Alas …

              • 11B-Mailclerk says:

                It may take a rash of firing squads to un-fark things this time. It may be that bad, although I hope not.

                And this goes back farther than one administration, too. Going to take more than one to fix it. Yuppers. .

            • Anonymous says:

              The ’90s, Shinsucki’s “beret” and the Spirit of 9/10…

    • OldSoldier54 says:

      Yep. Alas …

  9. SEAL TWO says:

    As someone who has been on the receiving end of these same types of JAG maggots, I’d like to see every one of them locked in a dog kennel at GITMO and for their lives to be suspended, placed on hold, indefinitely. And, I’d like to be given permission to pay them a personal and confidential visit once a year, just to relive and “enjoy” old times together.

    • rgr769 says:

      There is nothing worse than corrupt prosecutors of whatever stripe. The Mule-ear and his D-rat squad are exhibit A.

      • The Other Whitey says:

        I wonder how eager many individuals would be to engage in unethical conduct if they would have to defend themselves in a sanctioned legal duel over it. “Do you still want to pull this shit knowing that it may cost you your life? Or if you refuse the duel, is it worth everyone you meet knowing that you’re a cowardly piece of shit?”

        Kind of a logical extension of Heinlein’s wisdom that an armed society is a polite one. Honor might be more universally valued if your honor is directly tied to your life.

        Just thinking out loud…

        • 11B-Mailclerk says:

          The Code Duello generally required participants be of roughly equal social/legal status.

          You probably could not challenge your CO, or senior leader, to a duel.

          Another downside is also the skilled bully. Someone who is generally outstanding with gun or knife is -way- harder to call, because the challenged gets to set some of the conditions of the fight. Historical example of someone who would be tough to call is Jim Bowie. He tended to pick rather unusual and even scandalous contests, that favored him heavily. He won, lethally.

          Side note: pistol duels were often an exchange of -alternating- shots, not simultaneous. The requirements of using smoothbore weapons at great distance made it an iffy proposition, but the challenger was still electing to receive at the start.

          The whole drawn out process of “Seconds”, later meets, and remote meets gave maximum opportunity for hotheads to cool off, and maybe decide to end the mess civilly. One face-saving method was was a private man-to-man agreement to both miss. Each fired his shot. After the exchange, they were asked if Honor was satisfied. “Heck yeah”.(that is a heck of a trust of the other guy’s Honor, eh?)

          I do not believe that dueling would work in today’s culture. -way- too little self-control or ethical control.

          • OldSoldier54 says:

            Previous versions of Code Duello should not dictate a new version. It could/should be revised to suite present life.

            Code Duello presupposes a Society in which Honor and Integrity are widely held in high esteem. IMO, that is not the case in present day America. If accurate, that would present a very large problem in enacting a new Code, but not impossible, IMO.

            Despite the challenges, I would favor a new Code Duello because some SOBs just need killin’.

            We could start with Antifa.

            • 11B-Mailclerk says:

              The Blackheads probably fall under existing “self defense” laws, in sane areas at least, where they become violent. As long as they restrict themselves to LARPing and making asses of themselves, they do themselves more harm than anyone else. If they decide to initiate violent mob action, well, existing statutes speak to that.

              And could you even remotely expect them to engage in “an affair of -Honor-“? You would find yourself back-shot by a sniper. To me they are Reliably treacherous scum.

              • OldSoldier54 says:

                That would the function of the Seconds and Witnesses … to keep everything kosher, including the summary execution of anyone trying to violate the Duel.

            • A Proud Infidel®™ says:

              IMHO the Antifa maggots are too damned cowardly to try their shit outside of “Deep Blue” locales because some of them and their herders know that they would get their asses shot, beaten as well as chewed up and spit out by the Good Folks of Red State America who are just too damned busy working to earn an honest living to put up with them and their shit. I myself don’t even think they’re worth the gas to run over them especially since I just bought a new 4WD pickup truck (V8 Engine as well, SCREW the greenieweenies)!

            • The Other Whitey says:

              Being a legal framework for sanctioned dueling, a modern Code Duello should include some legal review to address the issues cited by Mailclerk. Obviously the proper channels must be utilized, otherwise the duel is illegal and counts as premeditated murder/attempted murder. Whether this would be handled by a judge, Sheriff, or designated representative thereof, there should be a hearing in which testimony is given by acquaintances of both parties. The “skilled bully” issue could legally preclude the duel from going forward, or else the governing authority could determine weapons and rules that do not give the bully the advantage. The dueling history of both parties should also be taken into account.

              As for the rank issue, I would suggest that a duel challenge could be allowed as an optional recourse for anyone who has suffered from the illegal/unethical conduct of a superior. For example, Chief Gallagher could have the option of issuing a duel challenge to the officer who chose to deny him access to his legal counsel while confined. Or an NCO or junior officer could, at their discretion, issue a challenge to a general who was caught banging the NCO’s wife. Such cases could also confer legal penalties on the offender for refusing a challenge, i.e. “You were willing to pull [insert bullshit here] on this guy, but you don’t have the balls to face him on the field of honor? Well, you don’t get to slither out of it that easily.”

              While it wouldn’t be a perfect solution, instituting a weregild requirement of some kind would substantially reduce the potential for abuse of the dueling system. Also, as stated above, further abuses can be prevented by taking rules and weapon selection out of the duelists’ hands entirely, with the responsible authority deciding instead. Laws could also be written that forbid duel challenges against individuals performing their duties, so no challenging the cop who wrote you a speeding ticket, unless you have proven in a court of law that the cop somehow violated the law against you. There could also be fines and/or jail time for frivolous duel challenges. Perhaps a list of legal dueling criteria, to spell out such things as fraud, wrongful imprisonment/loss of freedom, that kind of thing.

              I’m probably putting way too much thought into this.

    • A Proud Infidel®™ says:

      CID can be just as bad, a high school Friend of mine was dogged by them for about ten years!

  10. SgtBob says:

    So NCIS will investigate JAG? Should make for a good TV show.