Navy will not pursue action against Gallagher after comments on murdered captive
Eddie Gallagher was charged with murdering 17-year-old Khaled Jamal Abdullah in 2018, along with other charges.
The Navy will not pursue further action against retired SEAL Eddie Gallagher after he appeared on a podcast that aired in May and said "we killed that guy" when referring to an Islamic State captive.
The decision was made after the Navy reviewed Gallagher’s inflammatory comments and determined they were “not corroborated,” Navy spokesperson Cmdr. Courtney Hillson told POLITICO on Tuesday.
“No substantive information was found to merit an investigation based on those statements,” Hillson said.
Gallagher was charged with murdering 17-year-old Khaled Jamal Abdullah in 2018, along with other charges. He was later acquitted after a member of his team testified that he, not Gallagher, killed the prisoner. Gallagher was convicted of posing for a photograph with the corpse and was demoted from chief petty officer to petty officer first class.
The case generated national headlines and led to a shake-up in Navy leadership when then-President Donald Trump intervened, reversing the demotion and ordering the Navy not to strip Gallagher of his SEAL Trident insignia. Then-Defense Secretary Mark Esper later fired then-Navy Secretary Richard Spencer for his handling of the case.
On a May 4 episode of "The Line" podcast, Gallagher said that the “intention” of the group was to kill the ISIS fighter.
“The grain of truth in the whole thing is that that ISIS fighter was killed by us and that nobody at that time had a problem with it. … We killed that guy. Our intention was to kill him. Everybody was on board,” Gallagher said. "It was to do medical scenarios on him until he died."
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told reporters in May that the Navy was investigating Gallagher’s comments. Under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, Gallagher could have faced perjury charges following his comments.