Navy SEALs who served under recently pardoned Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher described their former platoon leader as "evil" and "toxic" in a series of newly released investigative interviews, according to The New York Times.
The SEALs were sometimes emotional, sometimes apparently nervous as they detailed what they believed were heinous war crimes committed by Gallagher in Iraq. Gallagher was accused of killing civilians, including women and children, and of stabbing an ISIS captive to death with a hunting knife for no justifiable reason.
Gallagher was acquitted of murder but convicted for posing for a photo with the dead captive. He was pardoned and had his rank restored last month by President Donald Trump.
The New York Times obtained video recordings of the SEALs' interviews, as well as other investigative materials such as text messages between the team members.
They offer the first opportunity outside the courtroom to hear directly from the men of Alpha platoon, SEAL Team 7, whose blistering testimony about their platoon chief was dismissed by President Trump when he upended the military code of justice to protect Chief Gallagher from the punishment.
"The guy is freaking evil," Special Operator Craig Miller told investigators. "The guy was toxic," Special Operator First Class Joshua Vriens, a sniper, said in a separate interview. "You could tell he was perfectly O.K. with killing anybody that was moving," Special Operator First Class Corey Scott, a medic in the platoon, told the investigators.
Miller wept during his interview, saying he "was really broken up" about the situation and talking about it for the first time.
Gallagher, in a statement, said the SEALs were lying and said he felt "disgust" in response to the videos.
"My first reaction to seeing the videos was surprise and disgust that they would make up blatant lies about me, but I quickly realized that they were scared that the truth would come out of how cowardly they acted on deployment," Gallagher said in the statement, according to NYT.
(H/T The Hill)