- The Washington Times - Friday, January 15, 2016

The young Navy lieutenant who was shown apologizing to Iran in a video after U.S. Navy boats entered Iranian waters has been identified as 27-year-old David Nartker.

Lt. Nartker grew up in Chicago and now lives in Ohio. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 2011, academy officials confirmed to the Capital Gazette.

He was among 10 U.S. sailors who were captured by Iran earlier this week after at least one of their vessels experienced mechanical problems near Farsi Island in the Persian Gulf.

The sailors were released a day later, but Lt. Nartker became the center of national debate after Iran released video footage showing him delivering an apology for the incident.

“It was a mistake,” Lt. Nartker is heard responding to an unknown question. “It was our fault and we apologize for our mistake.”

He also thanked the Iranians for their hospitality and fair treatment of the sailors.

Darlene Nartker, the sailor’s mother, confirmed to The Capital that it was her son in the video. The Navy did not say whether it was him in the video, but did say that Lt. Nartker is a captain of a Riverine Command in the gulf, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Many have criticized Lt. Nartker for the apology, with some alleging he violated the military Code of Conduct.

Article IV of the Code states: “When questioned, should I become a prisoner of war, I am required to give name, rank, service number and date of birth. I will evade answering further questions to the utmost of my ability. I will make no oral or written statements disloyal to my country and its allies or harmful to their cause.”

It is unknown whether the sailors were threatened or coerced into giving the statements on camera. The interrogators in the video are not shown and it is not known whether armed personnel were in the room.

The U.S. Central Command said: “The video appears to be authentic, but we cannot speak to the conditions of the situation or what the crew was experiencing at the time.” It said the crew was undergoing “the reintegration process and we will continue to investigate this incident,” according to The Capital.

Secretary of State John Kerry repeatedly said that he had not offered a formal apology to Iran for the incident. Vice President Joseph Biden also said the White House would not issue an apology.

Republicans were outraged over images Iran released after the incident showing the sailors kneeling at gunpoint, but White House spokesman Josh Earnest on Friday said the President was not troubled by the images.

Other GOP critics, including presidential candidate Rand Paul, claimed the act of videotaping the sailors was a violation of the Geneva Convention, which prohibits exploitation of prisoners of war.

But Mr. Earnest on Friday denied those accusations, saying the Geneva Convention did not apply because the U.S. and Iran are not at war.

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