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Navy Secretary Fired by Defense Secretary For Secretly Securing Navy SEAL Deal With Trump

Navy Secretary Fired by Defense Secretary For Secretly Securing Navy SEAL Deal With Trump

Trump will nominate US Ambassador to Norway Kenneth Braithwaite for Navy secretary.

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper fired Navy Secretary Richard Spencer due to the latter’s attempts to strike a deal with the White House over Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher, the man who posed next to a dead body of an ISIS terrorist.

Esper discovered Spencer’s actions after the fact, which made him lose faith and confidence in Spencer.

President Donald Trump and the Pentagon have butted heads over Gallagher after a jury found him not guilty of murder and attempted murder of an ISIS terrorist in Iraq.

The jury found “him guilty of the seventh charge, posing for a photo with a casualty, considered the least egregious of the crimes, which carries a maximum prison sentence of four months.”

The Navy demoted Gallagher after his conviction, but Trump “restored Gallagher’s rank” back to chief petty officer. He also told the Navy to “halt its internal review of Gallagher’s actions from 2017.”

On Friday, Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley tried to persuade Trump “to allow the Trident review board to go forward.”

But then Esper discovered Spencer already spoke to Trump about Gallagher. From The Wall Street Journal:

Mr. Spencer told The Wall Street Journal that he had tried to make a deal in which President Trump would allow the Navy to conduct an internal review of Chief Edward Gallagher, who would then be allowed to retire with his Trident pin, the revered symbol of his membership in the elite commando force. But Mr. Esper only learned of these efforts after the fact, and thus lost confidence in Mr. Spencer, according to Pentagon officials.

“I am deeply troubled by this conduct shown by a senior DOD official,” Mr. Esper said in a statement. “Unfortunately, as a result I have determined that Secretary Spencer no longer has my confidence to continue in his position. I wish Richard well.”

A senior official explained Esper fired Spencer for “lack of candor” and “dishonesty and undermining the military justice system.”

Trump will nominate US Ambassador to Norway Kenneth Braithwaite, a retired Navy rear admiral, for the Navy secretary post after Esper recommended him.

[Featured image via YouTube]


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Posing with a dead Jihadist body….. Nothing like reducing the enemy to a sanitized faceless amorphous concept rather than reminding people we are at war and showing what happens when we win. Top ranked officials want “best sportsmanship” awards rather than victory it seems.

    Sanddog in reply to alaskabob. | November 25, 2019 at 11:45 am

    Gallagher did far more that that. The only reason he walked is because the prosecutors screwed up the case by giving Corey Scott immunity from prosecution. No one on the team had ever suggested that Scott killed the prisoner and once he claimed responsibility, it blew up the case. It used to be that Special Operations went in, did the job, stayed under the radar and went home. They didn’t write books, they didn’t go on talk shows and they didn’t take pictures unless they were for intel.

      Perhaps you could enlighten us as to Chief Gallagher’s numerous sins? Quite frankly I don’t care how he killed them, just as long as the enemy died. War is certainly hell, that’s for damn sure, and the Marquis of Queensbury rules don’t apply.

      mailman in reply to Sanddog. | November 25, 2019 at 12:44 pm

      Corey Scott, once he had immunity in the bag then testified at trial that he killed the jihadi. This is why it collapsed.

      Mac45 in reply to Sanddog. | November 26, 2019 at 12:29 pm

      First, the initial complaints against Gallagher, by team members, was that they did not like his command style. The command staff apparently found nothing wrong with Chief Gallagher’s command style and ignored the complain. So, the complainant doubled down and claimed that Gallagher had killed an enemy combatant, while the EC was injured and in custody. The JSG then went whole hog to convict Gallagher, even getting caught suppressing evidence and failing to follow judicial procedures. Then, to get their “witnesses” to testify against Gallagher [these were the same people who were trying to have him removed from the team over his command style]they granted them immunity form prosecution for other crimes. So, in walks Corey Scott. He has been immunized against prosecution and says that he, not Chief Gallagher, killed the EC, because he felt that the EC would not survive his wounds. Oops. It was the JAG that screwed up this case, because they were determined to get Gallagher. So, they find him guilty of posing , with the rest of the team, with a dead EC. Certainly not the first or only time that this has happened. This was a CYA conviction, nothing more. Then, because the Gallagher had “embarrassed the NAVY, by being innocent of the charge they seek to not only transfer him to another billet, not on a team,but seek to strip him of his right to wear the SEAL trident. This only makes the brass look petty, vindictive and stupid. And, it is about time that someone, in the upper chain of command stood up for all of the lower ranks who get hosed for something that they did not do.

        Barry in reply to Mac45. | November 26, 2019 at 9:34 pm

        The man has earned a cigar.

        “This only makes the brass look petty, vindictive and stupid.”

        They look that way because they are. Heavy on the stupid.

        Stupid Squared, in fact.

    Finding then training then retaining men to be SEALS, Delta, Rangers, and other special forces, is both difficult and expensive. I don’t expect these public servants, i.e., military leadership, to toss out these valuable people for trivial purposes. Murdering an ISIS warrior? Are you kidding?

      Sanddog in reply to fscarn. | November 25, 2019 at 12:04 pm

      He was neutralized and in US custody as a prisoner of war. That’s what made it a murder charge.

        gospace in reply to Sanddog. | November 25, 2019 at 1:33 pm

        It’s only murder if we decide to call it murder. A reminder – captured non-state actors are not POWs, and do not have any rights under the Geneva Convention. We could adopt a policy of simply executing them on the spot. Me? I think we should execute immediately after extracting any actionable intelligence from them.

          Milhouse in reply to gospace. | November 25, 2019 at 3:20 pm

          It’s only murder if we decide to call it murder.

          If by “we” you mean Congress, then yes, if it were to decide not to call it murder then it wouldn’t be. But it didn’t decide that. If by “we” you mean any serviceman deciding it ad hoc, then no.

          Sanddog in reply to gospace. | November 25, 2019 at 3:35 pm

          Well, individual soldiers or sailors in this case, don’t set US policy and aren’t given free reign to execute prisoners.

          gospace in reply to gospace. | November 25, 2019 at 5:35 pm

          Actually. Milhouse, you probably cannot find any law passed by Congress that says killing an enemy combatant in a combat zone is murder. What you’re more likely to find is a whole bunch of regulations drafted by REMFs designed to make life difficult for people at the pointy end of the spear, and some of those define circumstances under which killing an enemy combatant is murder.

          Knew one JO who talked with his senior SGTs before going out on patrol. Rule 1 – bring everyone in the platoon back alive, even if it meant violating ROEs. Rule 2 – Every after action report would state all ROEs were followed.

          Sanddog in reply to gospace. | November 26, 2019 at 1:20 am

          When Gallagher killed him, he was out of combat. He had been wounded and taken prisoner by Iraqis and turned over to US Troops for medical care. Gallagher took his knife and stabbed him in the throat and side. He wasn’t in a battle for his life, the prisoner was unarmed. The fact that his fellow platoon members turned on him should give you some clue that he was out of control.

          Virginia42 in reply to gospace. | November 26, 2019 at 6:56 am

          Bingo. That’s been the problem since this thing started after 9/11. Terrorists do not enjoy legal rights under the Conventions. Why we decided to provide them with such is another one of those big mysteries of moron leaders, along with a SCOTUS ruling that really made me wonder if they even bothered to read any of their own legal precedents.

        Firewatch in reply to Sanddog. | November 25, 2019 at 1:51 pm

        He was not a member of an army so how can he have been a pow? I guess taking ears is taboo now too.

          Milhouse in reply to Firewatch. | November 25, 2019 at 4:09 pm

          He was a prisoner of war because he was captured while waging war against the USA. That’s what POW means. And in fact he was part of an army. That it’s an illegal army just means he’s not protected by the Geneva Convention, so US law determines what happens to him.

          gospace in reply to Firewatch. | November 25, 2019 at 5:42 pm

          Wrong, Milhouse. Prisoner of War is a specific legal term that applies ONLY to uniformed state actors engaged in war who are captured. If not wearing a uniform – not a POW. Period.

          Prisoner? Yes. Entitled to rights under the Geneva Convention? No. Subject to summary execution? Well, yes. Only question is, who decides and what are the rules.

          mailman in reply to Firewatch. | November 25, 2019 at 6:27 pm

          Yes Millhouse QC talks out his arse.

          BUT…sadly…Bush extended the geneva convention to terrorists after being pressured to by Democrats during the gulf war.

          Really…the rule of thumb is…leave em out on the battlefield for God to sort out.

        alaskabob in reply to Sanddog. | November 25, 2019 at 2:09 pm

        Remember the Saigon police chief offing a plain clothes Viet Cong guerrilla during Tet? Big uproar, but precisely correct… no time for those type prisoners in combat. (disclosure.. I favor the Thomas Jackson ‘black flag” approach to enemy combatants).

          Close The Fed in reply to alaskabob. | November 25, 2019 at 7:47 pm

          And Alaska, as I recall, we shot several German soldiers that showed up on our shore during WWII out of uniform. Just took ’em and shot ’em.

          “Remember the Saigon police chief offing a plain clothes Viet Cong guerrilla during Tet?”

          If you do not know the true story of this incident I suggest you go read it.

        tiger66 in reply to Sanddog. | November 25, 2019 at 3:15 pm

        Sorry Sanddog, but you’re way off base on this one.

        For years our warfighters have been forced to fight a fanatical enemy under rules of engagement crafted by a bunch of lawyers who live in Old Town Alexandria. The only time these guys get in harm’s way is on the beltway at rush hour.

        Meanwhile, the enemy has no rules of engagement. Women? Children? Old people? Don’t make no nevermind.

        Maybe Gallagher went too far, but so be it. When the Navy made a federal case of it, they threw him—a man who had no doubt laid his life on the line for our country numerous times—under the bus.

        The Navy can’t build an aircraft carrier with elevators that work; a Littoral Combat Ship that can carry out its mission (whatever the h-ll that mission is); a rail gun that works or a Zumwalt-class destroyer that works. And that same Navy dumps on Gallagher?

        The punishment originally given to Gallagher was WORSE than any of the punishments meted out as a result of the McCain and Fitzgerald collisions. Seventeen sailors died, and no one went to the brig? It’s all about process? We need to do better? Bull crap!

        I love the U.S. Navy, but its top management is as corrupt and inept as State, Justice, the FBI, and all of the rest. And they beat up on Gallagher for something that happened in ‘Stan?

        C’mon man!

          Sanddog in reply to tiger66. | November 25, 2019 at 3:25 pm

          They came down on him because he was a freaking idiot who lacked judgement. Taking pictures with corpses and then texting them? Holding your reenlistment ceremony next to the guy you offed? They went after him because he became a law unto himself. While a little of that is required in Special operations, too much brings down the heat.

    Firewatch in reply to alaskabob. | November 25, 2019 at 1:49 pm

    Too many GD lawyers.

      Valerie in reply to Firewatch. | November 25, 2019 at 2:39 pm

      Too many desk jockeys second-guessing people in war zones.

      Close The Fed in reply to Firewatch. | November 25, 2019 at 7:49 pm

      Yeah, lawyers dictating war, that’s a new thing.

      If lawyers are so damn desirable during war, every damn one dictating the rules should be IN THE WAR ZONE. Bring a bit of reality into the mix.

        Virginia42 in reply to Close The Fed. | November 26, 2019 at 6:59 am

        That’s how Mullah Omar got away in 2001. Friend of mine was on the team that was calling in the air strike…but no, they had to wait for the lawyers to “approve” the strike. Omar and his convoy got way while that particular circle jerk was going on.

    The old bumper sticker – “Kill them all, let God sort them out” is my basic premise of how we should act if we have to go to war.
    I’d rather the other side laments and wails the losses than to have a single American family saddened by loss.

Who works for whom? Fire all these swamp critters.

There is a deeper story waiting to come out here.

He was fired for making or discussing a deal with Trump? Say what?

Doesn’t add up to 100%

Let’s see what comes out next and which of these folks are deep state swamp critters

curious that none of the other half-dozen or so service men standing around were indicted as well

regardless, the seal was found not guilty of the most serious charges and, failing in that, the jag office wanted to skewer him with some petty offense


so the SON could ” not in good conscience ” follow an order that somehow ” violated his sacred oath? ” his oath to what?
the constitution? the commander-in-chief? to obeying a lawful order from his superior?


insubordinate at a minimum and disgracefully so

good riddance

    They had all been given immunity by the prosecutor.

      Lewfarge in reply to Sanddog. | November 25, 2019 at 12:25 pm

      The jag prosecutors that committed misconduct by electronic surveillance on the defense team, and then gave themselves medals for a corrupt PERSECUTION ????????

        Sanddog in reply to Lewfarge. | November 25, 2019 at 3:28 pm

        Yeah, that’s not at all unusual. The Gallagher crap should have been handled from within. Leave the damned media out of it and get him out of the field.

    It seems those prosecuting the case had in in for Eddie Gallagher. He was never going to get a fair hearing.

    Added on top of that was how his family was treated with the kids being forced out of their house in the pj’s at night with nothing else to wear!

    Someone had it in for Eddie big time!

On thing I taught my kids: do not try to get away with telling mommy one story, and daddy another.

He killed a Muslim terrorist? Even better.

Other news services as saying Trump reported the contact to Esper and add that it was not merely the chain of command issue that bothered Esper, but the fact that deals could be made that predetermined the outcome of judicial proceedings.
These points make sense in context.

    Spencer was attempting to play both sides of the issue and Trump wasn’t having any of it. My take is it was Trump who leaked the resignation threats to Maggie Haberman so that Esper would have no choice but to act as Trump also knew that the conversations he had with Spencer had not been shared with SecDef.

      94Corvette in reply to Dave. | November 25, 2019 at 4:45 pm

      In the years that President Trump worked developing different projects and companies, he probably had to deal with graft and dirty deals hourly. I think he is sick and tired of it, witness his efforts to drain the swamp. One quote from last week’s circus really stuck out. They were relating a phone conversation they had with President Trump and asked him what he wanted from the Ukrainians. He got angry and replied ‘nothing, I want the President of Ukraine to do the right thing.” For so long our diplomacy has been conducted with graft being attached to it. Trump reacted to the SecNav trying to make a deal the same way – he didn’t want any part of it.

I think we are going to find out there is more to this story. I would advocate waiting a bit before vilifying anyone.

    mailman in reply to dmacleo. | November 25, 2019 at 6:32 pm

    Pretty much everything about the story is already out there and has been out there for quite some time.

    It appears that Eddy was being targeted by someone or someones who absolutely had it in for him.

    What gets me is that a man who has served his country and put his life on the line for so long can be treated in such a callous fashion as to quite literally destroy not just his life but the lives of his wife and his children for no other reason that as an act of spite because someone absolutely had it in for him.

    Really Eddy’s good fortune here is that 45 is in charge and not the ballsackless president spelt with a lower case p, number 44 (can you smell the oestrogen?).

If he couldn’t obey the president’s orders then he should have resigned.

There are at least two problems in modern warfare:

1. Enemy combatants are granted rights under our laws
2. It is virtually impossible to organize and secure forensic evidence while fighting for your life

The result of these two issues is that if warfighters capture prisoners the courts, due to lack of evidence, will release them to fight once again.

Good Morning America

    Milhouse in reply to stablesort. | November 25, 2019 at 4:06 pm

    All you have to prove in court is that they were enemy combatants, and not just random strangers who got arrested for no reason at all. Once that is established, they have no right to habeas corpus and can be dealt with by military tribunals or just kept in custody until it suits the USA to release them.

      Brave Sir Robbin in reply to Milhouse. | November 25, 2019 at 10:16 pm

      Not exactly correct. To forfeit rights, he would need to be declared and ILLEGAL enemy combatant, then, under the Geneva Convention, he would have no rights. This is important to protect civilians. If combatants hide amongst civilians (dress like them and walk amongst them), they endanger non-combatants. That’s why they are declared illegal and have no rights.

      There is more to the story, indeed. Why did his men turn on him so? That is the key question to think about. He lost the confidence of the men he lead. There was a leadership problem. His subordinates were desperate to rid themselves of him and took this tack, to make accusations of illegal conduct, even to the point of lying about him and what he did. If they themselves committed the “crimes” they accused him of, that means there is still a leadership problem, and it should have been dealt with in that vein. The Chief should have been relieved of leading men in combat and sent home to finish his career behind a desk with a bad eval the ensures he never gets advanced again.

        I’m not sure they lied about him. It was established he did stab the prisoner but the other medic claims he shut off his airway and that’s what killed him. For so many members of his platoon to turn on him, there had to be something seriously wrong going on. These guys will cover for each other without a second thought so his behavior had to be pretty egregious.

          Barry in reply to Sanddog. | November 26, 2019 at 8:38 am

          “These guys will cover for each other…”

          So, Gallagher was a bad apple, but the rest of the men couldn’t be?

          Perhaps if there can be one bad apple, there can be several. So now you have a problem. You’re making a judgement from afar. You couldn’t possibly know what the truth is.

          We do know the superior officers were corrupt. That’s an absolute. As long as that is apparent, and it is, I’m going to give the benefit of the doubt to the warrior in the field.

          It was mishandled from the beginning to the end, culminating in insubordination by the Sec of the Navy. The Sec was going to make a deal such that the board’s finding would be pre-ordained? This should tell you all you need to know.

          I don’t care how it cam to Trumps attention, he did the correct thing.

Honestly, the write ups I’ve seen on the saw were pretty much the opposite of what’s being described in the comments section here. From what I’d read the jihadist had been critically injured in the capture, and died while they were trying to intubate him, and that what was described as the “posing” photo was a picture someone took while this was going on, and that the majority of this was a bunch of JAG’s trying to make stripes by finding a SEAL guilty of war crimes, even if they had to largely make them up.

Now I did see what was reported to be the “posing” photo and while it did fit the reported legal description, it was also petty clearly taken while they were still working on the jihadist, but I did not do a deep dive to verify it’s provenance.

I’m open to the probability that have of the news media reporting on this bears no actual contact with the reality, however I’d need to see some serious sourcing to the original data to develop any real opinion on it worth having.

    gospace in reply to Voyager. | November 25, 2019 at 5:47 pm

    I agree. Coverage has been horrible. I still haven’t been able to figure out – were they still in the field or were they in an FOB? Makes a huge difference in what should have happened.

    mailman in reply to Voyager. | November 25, 2019 at 6:34 pm

    I think that is what you get when a story is being written by someone not familiar with the case. Ive been following Eddy Gallaghers story for quite a while now and its not just the article thats raised my eye brows BUT some of the posts here (from those attacking Gallagher because they clearly know fuck all about what went down from the start through to today).

      Sanddog in reply to mailman. | November 26, 2019 at 1:32 am

      I think a lot of people cheerleading Gallagher aren’t familiar with the facts, nor are the familiar with military code of conduct.

    Sanddog in reply to Voyager. | November 26, 2019 at 1:30 am

    One medic was working on the prisoner and Gallagher walked up and stabbed the prisoner several times. This isn’t disputed, even the medic who claimed he was responsible for closing down is airway admitted it. Gallagher then took a picture of the dead prisoner and texted it to his buddy with the comment: “Good story behind this. Got him with my hunting knife.” This is all actual evidence that came out in the trial, not speculation.

You have to read between the lines and ignore all the “defying Trump’s order” knob-polishing but I think Dave and a couple others have it right.

Spencer was
1) publicly defying the CiC, his boss’s boss
2) while opening a back channel to the WH
3) offering to fix the outcome of Gallagher’s disciplinary hearing
4) and cutting his boss Esper out of the loop.

Even if it would have resulted in the preferred outcome for Gallagher, in no universe is any of this kosher.

have read conflicting accounts as well–frankly, as seems to have been admitted by everyone, the prisoner was critically wounded and expired while life-saving procedures were in process–that seemed to be the smoking gun to me

how on earth could it be called murder if the prisoner dies in an obvious attempt to save his life?

scott obviously took one for the team as he realized that the whole thing had been concocted to damage gallagher

good on him

    Close The Fed in reply to texansamurai. | November 25, 2019 at 8:03 pm

    That any of our soldiers have felt compelled to take one for the team after obtaining immunity, tells us we do not support our troops.

    If we’re in a war, we’re in a war and we accept it’s not a factory with predictable and clean outcomes. It’s a damn war: messy, brutal, barbaric, bloody, hazy, unpredictable, expensive.

    If we can’t commit to our own side in a fight, we need to wake up and smell the damn coffee. War is a fight to kill and defeat the other side. If we cant’ take our own side in a war, then we should separate now into two separate nations, and the side that’s willing to take its own side in a war should fight them, and the other side should collapse as every two-bit terrorist demolishes them, as rightly they should.

      The fact that his fellow platoon members turned on him says more about this case than anything else. If you’re familiar with that culture, you’ll understand why that’s such an issue.

So we create the world’s most fearsome killers and then act embarrassed when they act like victorious killers! Throughout history, warriors have posed with their conquest after a bloody battle. This is the same as a boxer holding up his gloves in the ring after the announcement of his victory. This is the same as the revered native Americans who collected scalps. It was ears when I was in Vietnam. It was heads in Roman days. It may offend the weak-kneed but to be a killer, hand to hand is like no other job on this Earth! You don’t partake of that and then p[ut on your necktie and sit for an interview with PBS. These people keep us safe and they deserve our consideration. “F” the people who have “High” morals. If they are so high and mighty then let them do the dirty work!

    Close The Fed in reply to inspectorudy. | November 25, 2019 at 8:05 pm

    Inspector, thank you for presenting the truth of it! Bunch of damn ivory-tower types that wouldn’t know what to do in a fight if their lives depended on it!

A good review of this affair can be gotten at:

Is there ANY institution not destroyed after 8 years of Obama-Jarrett?

Apparently not. What a couple of treasonous scumbags.