Army General Declines to Reinstate Special Forces Tab to Officer Pardoned By Trump


Jan. 9, 2020 at 4:11 p.m. CST

An Army general has denied a request by an officer pardoned in an open murder case by President Trump to have his Special Forces tab reinstated, setting up a potential flash point with the commander in chief.

The decoration for retired Army Maj. Mathew L. Golsteyn was denied Dec. 3 by Lt. Gen. Francis M. Beaudette, the commander of U.S. Army Special Operations Command, the Army disclosed Thursday. Beaudette’s decision is not final, and the service said in a statement that it will next have an administrative panel consider whether it should reinstate the Special Forces tab and a Distinguished Service Cross — the U.S. military’s ­second-highest valor award — and expunge a letter of reprimand Golsteyn received in connection with his case.

Golsteyn was awaiting trial this year in the alleged murder of a suspected Taliban bombmaker in Marja, Afghanistan, in February 2010. The service opened an investigation into Golsteyn after he disclosed the killing during a 2011 polygraph as the CIA was considering him for a job. Army officials revoked the tab and valor award in 2014 while issuing the reprimand and charged Golsteyn with murder in 2018.

Golsteyn has acknowledged the killing in media interviews but said it occurred in a lawful ambush. He burned the body afterward to prevent disease, he said.

The general’s denial of Golsteyn’s reinstatement request follows Trump’s decision in November to pardon Golsteyn along with former 1st Lt. Clint Lorance, an Army officer who had been convicted of murder in Afghanistan. Trump also decided to reinstate the rank of a Navy SEAL, Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher, who was acquitted of murder last year but convicted of posing for a photo with the corpse of an Islamic State fighter in Iraq.

Golsteyn, reached for comment Thursday evening, said he had not heard about the decision until it was first reported by The Washington Post. A few minutes later, he and his lawyer, Phil Stackhouse, said they received notification from the Army in an emailed letter that had just arrived.


Author: Papa Mike