Supervisor of Navy SEAL accused of murder faces charges


SAN DIEGO (AP) — The Navy officer who supervised a SEAL accused of fatally stabbing an Islamic State prisoner in Iraq in 2017 was charged Tuesday with various offenses tied to the case, including allegations he conducted the SEAL’s re-enlistment ceremony next to the corpse and encouraged enlisted personnel to pose for photos with the body.

The court martial for Lt. Jacob Portier began with the arraignment Tuesday at the Navy base in San Diego. Portier also is accused of failing to report a war crime, destroying evidence and impeding the investigation of Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher.

Portier’s attorney, Jay Sullivan, said Portier will plead not guilty to all the charges at a later date, which is allowed under military court rules. Both sides agreed to meet again next week to discuss restrictions on information, photos and video from the investigation and whether anything should be classified or kept from the public during the rare trial of an elite special warfare operator.

Sullivan said he plans to object to a protective order in place because it has limited his ability to review the investigation’s documents and interview witnesses about statements that have been made, though he believes there may be things that should be kept from the public and discussed in closed session during the trial.

Sullivan said Portier — who was the officer in charge of Gallagher’s platoon during the deployment — is innocent. Sullivan believes it will come out that the Islamic State fighter was killed in combat operations and Portier was not there.

Biden Quietly Apologized to Muslims for Doubting Hamas Claim: Report

He also said the re-enlistment ceremony was done legally in a war zone where there may have been other casualties nearby.

“I can tell you he certainly never ordered anybody to appear in any photos with a dead ISIS fighter,” Sullivan said after the arraignment. “I can tell you that a re-enlistment ceremony was done on the battlefield and for a Navy SEAL nothing could be more proud and honorable than re-enlisting to serve your country on the battlefield.”

Gallagher pleaded not guilty earlier this month to charges of premediated murder and other offenses, including opening fire on crowds of Iraqi civilians, and shooting a female and a male in separate incidents.

Navy prosecutors have painted a picture of a decorated SEAL going off the rails on his eighth deployment, indiscriminately shooting at Iraqi civilians and stabbing to death a captured Islamic State fighter estimated to be 15 years old. They say he also posed with the corpse, including at his re-enlistment ceremony.

His lawyers have said the allegations were made by disgruntled SEALs out to get Gallagher because he was a demanding platoon leader.

Portier’s lawyer said the Naval SEALs have had “extraordinary success” in Iraq. He is concerned the Navy’s prosecution of the case in a public court martial could undermine that, hurt morale and reveal information about the secretive force. He wants the State Department to intervene on behalf of national security. He believes it’s important to determine whether parts of the case, such as operations’ details, tactics, etc., should be only discussed in closed sessions.

“I believe the investigation should be classified,” Sullivan said after the arraignment. “The operations that we do over there is protecting our national security, and parading these warfighters on the stage, I think it puts them at risk and our mission over there at risk.”

Gallagher, who has been jailed since his arrest Sept. 11, will stand trial Feb. 19.

The Western Journal has not reviewed this Associated Press story prior to publication. Therefore, it may contain editorial bias or may in some other way not meet our normal editorial standards. It is provided to our readers as a service from The Western Journal.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

The Associated Press is an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative headquartered in New York City. Their teams in over 100 countries tell the world’s stories, from breaking news to investigative reporting. They provide content and services to help engage audiences worldwide, working with companies of all types, from broadcasters to brands. Photo credit: @AP on Twitter
The Associated Press was the first private sector organization in the U.S. to operate on a national scale. Over the past 170 years, they have been first to inform the world of many of history's most important moments, from the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the fall of the Shah of Iran and the death of Pope John Paul.

Today, they operate in 263 locations in more than 100 countries relaying breaking news, covering war and conflict and producing enterprise reports that tell the world's stories.
New York City