President Trump fired Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer for cause after Spencer attempted to subvert the President granting SOCS Eddie Gallagher clemency. Spencer included this sentence in his “going out the door” letter: “The president has very little understanding of what it means to be in the military, to fight ethically or to be governed by a uniform set of rules and practices.” That little turd-in-the-punch bowl set off a media firestorm in second-guessing and spinning the President’s decisions in the most anti-Trump way possible. Over Sunday, both NBC and ABC held brief panel discussions on the subject, with ABC interviewing three carefully-selected retired military officers, all of whom generally panned the decisions. It was worse on NBC, as “moderator” Chuck Todd made the following statement at the end of the segment bashing the President: “[President Trump is] somebody who thinks by watching the Military Channel they’re suddenly a commander, I guess.” Todd once worked in far-left Sen. Tom Harkin’s presidential campaign; I suppose that personally insulting statement is to be expected from a Democrat hack masquerading as a “journalist.”
BG Anthony Tata, USA (ret’d), wrote a masterful opinion piece for Fox News that destroyed the myth that the President acted improperly and that Spencer was “wronged.” Here are a couple of key paragraphs:
Spencer is the man who bypassed the chain of command by cutting Secretary of Defense Mark Esper out of his scheming and working a backroom deal. Now, after being exposed, Spencer submissively avails himself to an eager mainstream media ready to consume his invective aimed at the president, creating the very chaos he blames on the president.
Spencer aligned himself with the prosecution, adding more weight to the suffocating pressure of a resource-rich bureaucracy bearing down on the defense attorney and his client, Gallagher. Commanders and secretaries with decision-making and appellate authority are meant to be neutral by design, open to evidence, mitigation, and extenuation from both sides of the case.
Spencer wanted the Navy to be right, so he followed prosecution guidance in a case that was marred by prosecutorial overreach.
Navy prosecutor Cmdr. Christopher Czaplak secretly embedded a tracking virus in an image of the scales of justice and the American flag on emails he exchanged with Gallagher’s defense attorneys, affording him an illegal window into the defense strategy.
Czaplak’s prosecution team, which included Naval Criminal Investigative Service officials, tampered with witnesses in efforts to prevent testimony, tainted the jury pool by leaking reports to the media favorable to the prosecution, and then conspired to shield those crimes as the defense brought them to light.
Spencer’s quibbling over whether the president’s tweet was a “direct order” or not demonstrates how petty and vengeful he was toward Gallagher. The president was right to intervene to prevent a biased, small-minded person like Spencer from spitefully tilting the weight of the bureaucracy on top of a single sailor. Servicemen and women enjoy the same due process rights as the civilians of the country they serve.
The comparison between the legacy media hacks’ portrayal of the situation versus General Tata’s could not be starker. The differences reflect the ideological split that has been foisted on Americans by decades of media cheerleading for every cockamamie leftist/Democrat scheme and narrative, facts be damned. A key tactic used by the propaganda mongers is the use of the double standard. Democrats are never held to the same standards applied to Republicans. This has never been clearer than in comparing the standards applied to Presidents Obama and Trump.
CAPT Joe John has penned a great editorial that elucidates that double standard in the Gallagher case. [Reprinted here with permission of the author]
The Double Standard in the Way President Trump is Evaluated For Supporting a Navy SEAL
The double standard in the way President Trump has been evaluated when compared to Obama continues. Obama’s actions in [swapping 5 senior Taliban prisoners for Bowe Bergdahl,] a traitor, who deserted his fellow combatants in the face of the enemy, then gave the Taliban Top Secret information, was ignored by Obama’s “Politically Correct” General and Flag Officers (including McRaven), his service secretaries, and the left of center liberal media establishment. They didn’t object to the pardoning of a “Traitor”, in exchange for 5 of the Taliban’s most senior Terrorist Generals who are now killing US military combatants in Afghanistan.
The double standard manifested itself by exposing Obama’s “Politically Correct” Flag and General Officers, Obama’s holdovers at DOD, and the left of center liberal media establishment when they raised unending complaints for many weeks because President Trump re-instated a heroic combat warrior’s rank , after he was found “not guilty” in a Courts Martial. There was no need to pardon the warrior, SOC Edward “Eddie” Gallagher, USN (SEAL), like Obama pardoned the traitor, Chelsea Manning.
The events that led to the Court Martial of Chief Gallagher began when his SEAL Platoon, as a unit of SEAL Team SEVEN was in combat in Iraq in 2017 (his SEAL Platoon consisted of three Officers, one Chief, and 13 enlisted SEALs). Chief Gallagher removed two members of his SEAL Platoon from the field of battle for poor performance. Their removal from combat operations would not have occurred without the express approval of the three SEAL Officers in the chain of command in Iraq.
Upon return to the US, those two SEALs accused Chief Gallagher of the murdering a terrorist POW and many other crimes. Because of the false charges, Chief Gallagher sought a judicial investigation to clear his name (one of those two SEALs has already left the Navy). The unsubstantiated charges by those two SEALs, who had been removed from combat operations, were not supported by15 other SEALs in Chief Gallagher’s platoon.
Despite that, Chief Gallagher was incarcerated in the Naval Consolidated Brig at US Marine Corps Air Station, Miramar, San Diego. He was housed with pedophiles, was forced to sleep without enough blankets to keep him warm, wasn’t provided with escorts to obtain medical treatment that he required because of his combat injuries, and Navy JAGC Officers made it very difficult for Chief Gallagher to meet with his attorney, they intentionally interfered and tried to prevent him from properly preparing for his pretrial hearing.
While Chief Gallagher was in the Brig, heavily armed NCIS personnel forced entry into the Chief Gallagher’s home and made his children stand in the street in their underwear, the JAGC Prosecution Counsel was caught electrically spying on Chief Gallagher’s defense counsel, and JAG Corps Officers repeatedly leaked misleading facts to the press try to convince the public that Chief Gallagher was guilty of murder.
President Trump and Navy Secretary Richard Spencer were both made aware of the above listed abuses and the violation of Chief Gallagher’s Constitutional rights. Navy Secretary Spencer didn’t order the Navy JAG Corps Flags to cease the continued abuse, injustice, and the violation of Chief Gallagher’s Constitutional rights. President Trump waited for the Navy to put a stop to the injustice.
When Navy Secretary Spencer failed to act, to prevent abusive treatment and violation of Chief Gallagher’s Constitutional rights, the President called Secretary Spencer in March and ordered him to have Chief Gallagher transferred, and placed in restriction of an enlisted barracks, so he could meet with his attorney and prepare his trial defense in private, and to be able to obtain the medication he required to treat combat injuries, to be provided with blankets to keep him warm at night, and so he was able to communicate with his children to monitor their safety from the abuse of NCIS.
In his Court Martial, SOC Eddie Gallagher was found “not guilty of murder and multiple other charges”, because among other reasons, the Navy Corpsman prosecution witness, under a grant of immunity, confessed that he killed the terrorist POW, that SOC Eddie Gallagher did not kill the terrorist. Even so, Chief Gallagher was the only one of 12 SEALs in a photo taken with that deceased terrorist who had his rank reduced. The President didn’t pardon Chief Gallagher, as falsely reported in the press, like Obama pardoned a “Traitor”, because there was no need to pardon Chief Gallagher who was found “not guilty” in his Court Martial.
The President did restore Chief Gallagher’s rank, because of the injustice of only reducing his rank for being in the photo with a dead terrorist, while none of the other 11 SEALs in the photo, had their ranks reduced for being in the same photo. That resulted in continued concerns by Secretary Spencer and RADM Collin Green, Commander Naval Special Warfare Group ONE (NSWG-1). The Secretary of the Navy had no problem with selectively reducing the rank of only Chief Gallagher, but was disturbed when his rank was restored.
After Chief Gallagher’s rank was restored by the President, Secretary Spencer and RADM Green announced that they intended hold a SEAL Peer Review Board (SPRB) to remove “only” Chief Gallagher’s Trident, for being in the photo with the dead terrorist, and that they had no intention of removing the Tridents of the 11 other SEALs for being in the same photo. The President finally tweeted to Secretary Spencer and RADM Green “This case was handled very badly from the beginning, GET BACK TO BUSINESS”.
Secretary Spencer then approved the Navy JAG Corps recommendation to award the team of prosecutors with the Navy Marine Corps Achievement Medals, after they lost the case-in-chief in the Courts Martial of SOC Gallagher. The President came in again and said “NO” to the Secretary of Navy because of “Prosecution Misconduct”, violating the Constitutional rights of Chief Gallagher, and the multiple abuses—the Secretary of the Navy should never had approved the awarding of those medals.
The “firm intent” in multiple communications to cease and desist the selective punishment of “only” Chief Gallagher to the Secretary of the Navy by the Commander-in-Chief didn’t work. Secretary Spencer, Navy JAG Corps Officers, NCIS, and RADM Green were determined to continue to somehow “punish” Chief Gallagher. They disregarded the President, who is at the top of the Military Justice System chain of command. They didn’t seem to know how to take an order from the Commander-in-Chief, or understand that Article II of the U.S. Constitution outlines the powers granted to the President as Commander-in-Chief.
In a radio interview, after the President told Secretary Spencer and RADM Green to “get back to business,” a Navy JAGC Officer reported that RADM Green and Navy JAG Corps Officers still intended to make SOC Gallagher suffer more than he has already been made to suffer while in the brig for 8 months.
They let it be known “openly for the press to print” that they still intended to go forward with the SEAL Peer Review Board and to punish Chief Gallagher by removing his Trident. RADM Green openly made insubordinate statements demeaning the Commander-in-Chief that his enlisted personnel were made aware of. Green may have been speaking with McRaven, and openly stated that he had the full support of the Secretary of the Navy.
It was reported in the press that Secretary Spencer and RADM Green threatened to resign, if President Trump interfered in their authorization of the SEAL Peer Review Board to charge Chief Gallagher and remove his Trident. At that point, the Secretary of the Navy should have been fired, and RADM Green should have been relieved of his command for insubordination, for allowing selective prosecution for only one of the 12 SEALs in the photo with the deceased terrorist, for violating the Constitutional rights of Chief Gallagher, and for allowing the continued abuse and persecution of Chief Gallagher for nearly two years.
Secretary Spencer continued his insubordination, and went around Secretary of Defense Mark Esper who was out of the country, in order to broker a deal directly with the White House. That deal would have allowed RADM Green to hold a SEAL Peer Review Board, only for the sake of appearances, but in fact, the results of the Board would be preordained to allow Chief Gallagher to retain his Trident. But because the Board would only be held for one of the 12 SEALs in the photo, President Trump said “Absolutely Not”!
The Secretary of Defense Mark Esper had enough, and fired the Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer, for going around him when he was out of the country, for violating the chain of command by trying to broker a side deal directly with the White House, because his intent was to structure a SEAL Peer Review Board for only one of the 12 SEALs in the photo, and because he intended to mislead the SEAL community in Navy Special Warfare Group ONE by keeping secret the preordained results of the Board that would guarantee that Chief Gallagher’s Trident would not be removed.
Even while the President was in Afghanistan, the press continued in an frenzy to criticize the President for “pardoning” Chief Gallagher—which was another of the many lying press reports, and the double standard in how they treated the President’s attempted to seek justice for Chief Eddie Gallagher who was found “not guilty”. The deposed Secretary of the Navy played directly into the leftist press’ hands by criticizing the President in a Press Conference following his firing by the Secretary of Defense, and by the further criticism of the President in an Op Ed he released while demeaning the President.
In Richard Spencer’s Press Conference and in his Op Ed, he failed to explain the above listed flaws that occurred in the post Court Martial events, that led to his firing. To the delight of the left of center liberal media establishment, Richard Spencer also stated that the President didn’t understand what a warfighter is, at the same time the President was on the ground in Afghanistan supporting warfighters (even junior high school students know what a warfighter is).
By clicking on this link, you will be able to read what Navy JAGC, NSWG-1, and NCIS did in violating the Constitutional rights of Chief Gallagher, while abusing the chief who repeatedly put his life on the line in 8 combat tours, serving for 4 years of actual combat (probably more than most Combat Veterans on active duty today). Spencer insinuated that he, the Navy JAG Corps, NCIS, and RADM Green handled Chief Gallagher’s case properly, however, the abuses prior to, during, and after the Court Martial of Chief Gallagher will be revealed to the reader at the above link.
Some of the “Politically Correct” female lawyer holdovers from the 8 years of the Obama Administration within the “Navy’s JAG Corps decided over the years, that rough warfighters who take exception to the beheading of innocents and to putting pilots in cages and setting fire, to them, reek of macho-male toxicity, because they have been visiting “violence” on those who would do military personnel harm, and should be brought to heel. They got NCIS investigators to coach and shape the testimony of interviewees in Chief Gallagher’s case. They used malware to listen in on discussions between Chief Gallagher and his lawyer. They hid a video clearing Gallagher of murder. When the Navy Corpsman, under a grant of immunity, confessed that he, not Gallagher, killed the POW, they pressed the case anyway. The presiding judge had to admonish and eventually dismiss the JAGC Prosecuting Counsel for misconduct.” (Dr. William Hamilton, Nov 20, 2019, “Rough Men Versus Soft Lawyers”)
During the 8 years of the Obama administration, Navy JAG Corps female lawyers repeatedly tried to incarcerate warfighters, and continued to charge them with more war crimes than in any other time in military history. Obama’s “Politically Correct” JAG Flags recruited those liberal attorneys to enforce his very dangerous Rules Of Engagement (ROE). Those attorneys had no understanding of the reason for quick reaction time, often within seconds, to protect combatants on the battlefield. Those inept ROE increased Killed In Action and Wounded In Action by over 400%, the ROE actually became more dangerous to the US military combat personnel than the Taliban.
Those ROE were responsible for the downing of “Extortion 17”, with the loss of 15 members of SEAL Team SIX, and 17 other Special Forces Military personnel in the Tangi Valley of Afghanistan on August 6, 2011. Because of the dangerous ROE, 32 Special Forces personnel were ordered to go into a combat operation aboard a very slow-moving CH-47D chinook helicopter (the SEALs should have been sent in 3 separate Night Stalkers Special Ops Helicopters).
The ROE prevented the use of suppression fire to prepare the landing zone, before the helicopter went in, because of the possibility of injuring civilians that might be in the area. The enemy was waiting with RPGs; they easily took down the Chinook killing all 32 aboard. In meetings with the families of the dead SEALs, McRaven made excuses for the ROE; he infuriated the SEALs family members.
Navy JAGCs should be required to walk one mile in an Indian’s moccasins before they are assigned a JAG Billet, to learn what it is to have to react quickly to threats to the lives of military personnel on the field of combat. Many retired JAGC Officers have informed us that they recommended that all new JAG Corps Officers should be required to serve for at least 6 months in the fleet before they are assigned to a JAG Billet. Navy JAG Corps Flags have repeatedly rejected those recommendations.
The Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly who replaced Richard Spencer should order the Navy IG to investigate Navy JAG Corps, NSWG-1, and NCIS’s abusive actions, their violations of the Constitutional rights of Chief Gallagher, the “Prosecution Misconduct” of the Navy JAG Corps Officers, and the actions of NCIS Officers who abused Chief Gallagher’s children. RADM Green, NAVY JAG C Officers, and NCIS Officers didn’t seem to understand that “all” Americans charged with a crime, including SOC Eddie Gallagher, USN (SEAL) are “innocent” until proven guilty.
Richard Spencer stated: “Normally, Military Justice works best when senior leadership stays far away.” Chief Gallagher’s Court Martial case and so many other Court Martials that were prosecuted during the 8 years of the Obama Administration are examples of why Military Justice will not work best when senior Naval Leadership stays far away. The Navy JAG Corps’ “Politically Correct” liberal and female lawyers who oppose rough masculine and violent warfighters that are motivated to protect military personnel, should be very closely supervised by Navy “Line” Officers with operational experience, to prevent the injustices that occurred in Chief Gallagher’s case.
Joseph R. John, USNA ‘62
Capt USNR(Ret)/Former FBI
Chairman, Combat Veterans For Congress PAC
2307 Fenton Parkway, Suite 107-184
San Diego, CA 92108
CAPT John, as usual, provides details not covered by the legacy media in their continuing zeal to “get” the President. However, I believe there is even more to the problem than the political corruption that is widespread in the Navy JAG Corps. Colleague Streiff here at Redstate touches on the nerve of the real malady in this fine article here: The Real Question Is Not Whether the Military Trusts President Trump but Whether the Nation Can Still Trust the Military. Streiff asks “whether the military command structure would actually obey President Trump when called upon to do something that they viewed against their institutional interests or if they would take action favorable to their perceived prerogatives despite a presidential order to the contrary.”
It’s a damn good question. However, I believe that is more of a symptom than a root cause of the problem. That we have gotten to a point in time where that question can be asked without being considered a kook is an indication of just how far the Left has gotten in politicizing the US military through the relaxation of high standards, the willful embrace of pro-LGBTQ personnel policies, and the adoption in the Obama era of ridiculous politically-correct Rules of Engagement that created the battlefield confusion resulting in the prosecutions of warfighters like Gallagher on charges of “war crimes.” But even worse was the complete politicization of the US flag and general officer ranks. Obama cashiered roughly 200 senior officers in his first five years alone and promoted the politically compliant. And we have the seen the results of that politicization in the public comments from retired Obama-era FOGOs like McCraven, Clapper, Stavridis, and others. That politicization of senior ranks has affected lower-ranking officers, too, as they learned that politics was just as important as performance in promotion to the FOGO ranks.
Time to excise politics and politically-correct “standards” completely from all military policies and performance evaluation systems. And while that won’t fix the media double-standard, it will go a long way toward restoring the readiness and morale of the US military!