Eddie Gallagher Bio
Edward R. Gallagher is a retired United States Navy SEAL Special Warfare Operator who came to national attention in the United States after he was charged with war crimes but later acquitted. During the trial, President Trump ordered Gallagher moved from pretrial confinement to house arrest. After Gallagher was demoted from Chief Petty Officer to Petty Officer First Class, Trump reversed the demotion and later ordered the Navy to cancel administrative proceedings intended to revoke Gallagher’s status as a Special Warfare Operator.
A trove of leaked video interviews of Navy SEALS telling investigators about their commander, Eddie Gallagher. “The guy is freaking evil, man.” “You could tell he was perfectly OK w killing anybody.” “He’s a psychopath.” “He just got crazier and crazier” https://t.co/G0r2GGT3vj
— Ellen Barry (@EllenBarryNYT) December 27, 2019
Gallagher had been charged in September 2018 with ten offenses under the Uniform Code of Military Justice over accusations that he had stabbed to death an injured, sedated teenage ISIS prisoner, photographing himself holding the dead teenager’s head by the hair and sending the photo to friends. He was also accused by fellow Navy SEAL snipers of randomly shooting two Iraqi civilians; a girl walking with her friends on a riverbank and an unarmed elderly man.
He was acquitted on all but one of the charges he faced on July 2, 2019. He was found guilty of posing for a photograph with the teenager’s corpse, considered the least egregious of the crimes. Gallagher was sentenced to demotion and four months of confinement, which resulted in him being released for time served during pretrial confinement. His trial included an unexpected confession from another medic testifying under immunity, and with a purported motive of sparing Gallagher a prison term, who claimed that the victim would have survived Gallagher stabbing him, but the medic suffocated the victim to save him the fate he would suffer if turned over to Iraqi authorities.
Fast Facts You Need to Know
- The Navy SEALS were interviewed by naval criminal investigators before Edward Gallagher was charged with war crimes in September 2018
- The video recordings of their interviews were leaked to the New York Times and are now shown publicly for the first time in its The Weekly documentary series
- The interviews were all part of the investigative files used in Gallagher’s high-profile trial this summer
- It was these interviews that led to Gallagher being charged with murder
- Following his trial, a military jury acquitted Gallagher of all charges except one, posing in photos with the dead captive
“The guy is freaking evil.”
Leaked investigatory interview videos and text messages obtained by the New York Times reveal Navy SEAL platoon members’ descriptions of Eddie Gallagher, their leader who was acquitted of war crimes and cleared by Trump. https://t.co/i8pKb7MV3P
— Axios (@axios) December 27, 2019
Gallagher enlisted in the United States Navy in 1999. He had eight overseas deployments, including service in both the Iraq War and the War in Afghanistan. He was trained as a medic, a sniper, and as an explosives expert. He was attached to a U.S. Marine Corps unit until he enrolled in Basic Underwater Demolition/ SEAL (BUD/S) to become a Navy SEAL in 2005. During his service, he was decorated for valor several times, including two Bronze Stars. He received positive evaluations from his superiors within the SEALs and served as an instructor in the SEALs BUD/S program for recruits. Gallagher goes by the nickname “Blade” with his fellow frogmen.
Gallagher also attracted controversies and investigations, although few formal reprimands. He was the subject in an investigation of the shooting of a young girl in Afghanistan in 2010 but was cleared of wrongdoing in it. He also allegedly tried to run over a Navy police officer with his car in 2014 after being detained at a traffic stop. By 2015, Gallagher had acquired a reputation as someone who was more interested in fighting terrorists and less interested in compliance with rules. In his eighth deployment in 2017, Gallagher’s aggressive side was seemingly amplified, especially during the Battle for Mosul, wherein the US force mission was intended to be more advisory than direct combat. Gallagher was the subject of a number of reports from his fellow SEAL team members of actions not in keeping with the rules of war, but initially, these reports were dismissed by the SEAL command structure. Only after the reports were escalated outside the SEALs were they acted upon and directed to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS). On September 11, 2018, Gallagher was arrested at Camp Pendleton and charged with premeditated murder, attempted murder, obstruction of justice, and other offenses. On October 18, Lieutenant Jacob Portier of Gallagher’s platoon was also charged with failing to properly escalate to his superiors in the chain of command as well as destroying evidence. Gallagher pleaded not guilty to all the charges against him.
This Eddie Gallagher fool is a serial killer. Other snipers witnessed him murdering children, women, and elderly people for fun. He is so evil, that his fellow Navy SEALs were the ones that took him down. What’s going to happen when this monster starts killing people on US soil? https://t.co/M0T4b3XOCH
— Sonya Bazooka (@sable_sonya) December 22, 2019
Gallagher was accused of multiple offenses during his final deployment to Iraq and during the Battle for Mosul. The most prominent accusation and the best-attested was the murder of a prisoner of war, a war crime. A captured young fighter of the Islamic State (also known as ISIL, ISIS, and Daesh) was being treated by a medic. According to two SEAL witnesses, Gallagher said over the radio “he’s mine” and walked up to the medic and prisoner, and without saying a word killed the prisoner by stabbing him repeatedly with his hunting knife. Gallagher and his commanding officer, Lieutenant Jake Portier, then posed for photographs of them standing over the body with some other nearby SEALs. Gallagher then text messaged a friend in California a picture himself holding the dead captive’s head by the hair with the explanation “Good story behind this, got him with my hunting knife.”
Another accusation was that Gallagher’s sniper work during his 2017 deployment became indiscriminate, reckless, and bloodthirsty. He allegedly fired his rifle far more frequently than other snipers; according to testimony, the other snipers in the platoon did not consider him a good sniper, and he took “random shots” into buildings. Other snipers said they witnessed Gallagher taking at least two militarily pointless shots, shooting and killing an unarmed old man in a white robe as well as a young girl walking with other girls. Gallagher allegedly boasted about the large number of people he had killed, claiming he averaged three kills a day over 80 days, including four women. Gallagher also was reportedly known for indiscriminately spraying neighborhoods with rockets and machine-gun fire with no known enemy force in the region.
A charge of obstruction of justice was brought against Gallagher for alleged witness intimidation. According to the claim, Gallagher allegedly threatened to kill fellow SEALs if they reported his actions. The Navy cited his text messages as attempting to undermine the investigation, with messages sent to “pass the word on those traitors”, meaning cooperating witnesses, and to get them blacklisted within the special warfare community. This resulted in him being confined in the brig for a time with heavy restrictions on his ability to communicate, although this confinement was later lessened.
Gallagher was also charged with nearly a dozen lesser offenses. Some of these charges, such as flying a drone over a corpse, were dismissed during preliminary hearings.
According to the original Navy prosecutor Chris Czaplak, “Chief Gallagher decided to act like the monster the terrorists accuse us of being. He handed ISIS propaganda manna from heaven. His actions are everything ISIS says we are.”
Eddie Gallagher Iraq War
Gallagher was convicted in July of posing with the dead body of a teenage Islamic State captive he had just killed with a hunting knife. He was granted clemency by the president in November in a decision that angered military chiefs.
In the interviews, conducted by navy investigators looking into Gallagher’s conduct during a tour of duty in Iraq in 2017, fellow platoon members told of a ruthless leader who stabbed the captive to death for no reason then forced his troops to pose for a photograph with the corpse.
At his court-martial, Gallagher was acquitted of murder but demoted in rank for the lesser charge of posing with the body – a decision Trump reversed.
In a lengthy criminal investigation report, the navy detectives laid out other allegations against Gallagher, including picking off a schoolgirl and elderly man from a sniper’s roost. Members of Alpha Platoon’s Seal Team 7 alarmed by their leader’s conduct said they were initially shut down by military chiefs when they first spoke up, and told their own careers would suffer if they continued to talk about it.