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Another Navy SEAL has been charged in alleged ISIS terrorist murder plot

The 2009 National Moot Court Competition sponsored by the Navy Judge Advocate General's Corps at Naval Air Station Jacksonville. (Chief Mass Communication Specialist Anthony Casullo/U.S. Navy)
January 23, 2019

Court-martial has begun for a second Navy SEAL said to be involved in the alleged murder of an ISIS prisoner in 2017.

Lt. Jacob Portier was arraigned Tuesday at Naval Base San Diego, prompting a court-martial for offenses related to the alleged murder of an ISIS prisoner carried out by Special Operations Chief Edward “Eddie” Gallagher, Portier’s subordinate, according to an Associated Press report on Tuesday.

Portier faces numerous charges, including dereliction of duty, failure to report a war crime, destruction of evidence, and interfering with an investigation.

He is accused of carrying out Gallagher’s re-enlistment ceremony with the ISIS prisoner’s body, and encouraging fellow SEALs to pose for photos next to the body.

Portier will be pleading “not guilty” to all charges, according to his attorney, Jay Sullivan.

“I can tell you he certainly never ordered anybody to appear in any photos with a dead ISIS fighter,” Sullivan said on Tuesday. “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 is accused of using a knife to stab a detained ISIS fighter multiple times, which eventually resulted in the fighter’s death while in SEAL custody, though Gallagher and his legal team, as well as other evidence, contradicts the allegations.

Portier was reportedly not present at the time of the ISIS prisoner’s death, allegedly carried out by Gallagher. He alleges he was told of the incident and reported it to superiors. It is not known whether or not Portier actually knew of the incident earlier.

The court will hold a meeting next week to assess which evidence may be released to the public, or which should remain secret due to classified information and sensitive details related to the SEAL mission.

“I believe the investigation should be classified,” Sullivan said on Tuesday. “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’s arraignment was held earlier this month after four months in confinement, and he submitted a plea of not guilty on all charges. He will face a trial on Feb. 19, and his request for release from pre-trial confinement was denied.