- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Retired Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher vowed that “the truth is coming” and cast some of his former platoon members as “cowards” in a dramatic video posted to social media sites late Monday, catapulting his saga — and President Trump’s controversial pardon — back into the national spotlight.

The case of Chief Special Operator Gallagher, who was convicted of posing with the corpse of an Islamic State fighter in Iraq in 2017 but acquitted of more serious charges including murder, sparked a showdown between Mr. Trump and Pentagon leaders, and ultimately led to the firing of former Navy Secretary Richard Spencer. Mr. Trump restored Chief Gallagher’s rank last December after he’d been demoted by military leaders, and the president later publicly intervened after the Navy announced it was considering stripping Chief Gallagher of his Trident pin, the symbol of membership in the SEALs.

Chief Gallagher retired late last year and the case had largely faded from the headlines. But the online video Monday evening suggests that he intends to fight to restore his name and shoot down what he believes are false charges from the media and former colleagues.

“For my entire adult life I’ve had the honor and privilege of fighting for your honor and your freedom,” he says in the three-minute video. “Even though I went to trial and exposed all the lies that were said about me by certain cowards in my platoon and found not guilty, there are those to this day who refuse to accept that fact.”

“The fight to clear my name is not over,” he added.

The post also features video clips, names and the duty status of former platoon members, some of whom testified against him in a military trial last year.

Separately, the commanding general of U.S. Special Operations Command on Tuesday released an initial report on a comprehensive review of the “ethics and culture” within America’s most elite fighting forces. Gen. Richard Clarke ordered the study in August in the aftermath of several incidents involving special ops personnel, including that of Chief Gallagher.

According to the report, the review team did not find a “systemic” ethics problem within the Special Operations community. Gen. Clarke said two decades of almost constant operations has emphasized force over “routine activities that ensure leadership, accountability and discipline.”

“We did find that certain aspects of our culture have, at times, set conditions favorable for inappropriate behavior,” Gen. Clarke told reporters at the Pentagon. “We have a ‘can do’ culture, with a bias toward action.”

This is “part of what makes us great,” he said, but the same attitude can lead to problems.

In a letter released to the troops under his command, the general said the vast majority act in an honorable manner but said the study was necessary.

“Great organizations regularly review themselves, identify deficiencies and correct them,” he wrote.

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