Three SEALs charged with assault
Navy SEALs have secretly captured one of the most wanted terrorists in Iraq — the alleged mastermind of the murder and mutilation of four Blackwater USA security guards in Fallujah in 2004. And three of the SEALs who captured him are now facing criminal charges, sources told FoxNews.com.
The three, all members of the Navy's elite commando unit, have refused non-judicial punishment — called an admiral's mast — and have requested a trial by court-martial.
Ahmed Hashim Abed, whom the military code-named "Objective Amber," told investigators he was punched by his captors — and he had the bloody lip to prove it.
Now, instead of being lauded for bringing to justice a high-value target, three of the SEAL commandos, all enlisted, face assault charges and have retained lawyers.
Matthew McCabe, a Special Operations Petty Officer Second Class (SO-2), is facing three charges: dereliction of performance of duty for willfully failing to safeguard a detainee, making a false official statement, and assault.
Petty Officer Jonathan Keefe, SO-2, is facing charges of dereliction of performance of duty and making a false official statement.
Petty Officer Julio Huertas, SO-1, faces those same charges and an additional charge of impediment of an investigation.
The three SEALs will be arraigned separately on Dec. 7. Another three SEALs — two officers and an enlisted sailor — have been identified by investigators as witnesses but have not been charged.
FoxNews.com obtained the official handwritten statement from one of the three witnesses given on Sept. 3, hours after Abed was captured and still being held at the SEAL base at Camp Baharia. He was later taken to a cell in the U.S.-operated Green Zone in Baghdad.
The SEAL told investigators he had showered after the mission, gone to the kitchen and then decided to look in on the detainee.
"I gave the detainee a glance over and then left," the SEAL wrote. "I did not notice anything wrong with the detainee and he appeared in good health."
Lt. Col. Holly Silkman, spokeswoman for the special operations component of U.S. Central Command, confirmed Tuesday to FoxNews.com that three SEALs have been charged in connection with the capture of a detainee. She said their court martial is scheduled for January.
United States Central Command declined to discuss the detainee, but a legal source told FoxNews.com that the detainee was turned over to Iraqi authorities, to whom he made the abuse complaints. He was then returned to American custody. The SEAL leader reported the charge up the chain of command, and an investigation ensued.
This is asinine. He got punched by one of the SEALs. Big deal. It probably happened int he attempt to capture him. What do the military commanders think our soldiers will do in detaining these animals, use harsh language instead of defending themselves is the terrorist fights back? This is the same sort of PC crap that is apparently running rampant in the military right now. Marcie was incensed when she saw this story last night, uttered a couple expletives, and reminded me (like I need to be reminded) that the job of the military is to kill people, break things, and protect the nation.
I couldn't agree more with her, and while our opinion in this matter doesn't matter to the military investigators, we're nonetheless giving it anyway. These SEALs did their jobs. They caught the animal responsible for the brutal murder of four civilian contractors. (Despite the opinions of others regarding Blackwater and other security contractors, these companies provide a valuable service in this war.) Some people forget this nation is still at war, and war is a dirty, messy business. It's not for the faint of heart, nor is it for the squeamish. There are times where our soldiers have to do things that would appall a good number of people. But our enemies won't be coddled into submission.
We predict these three SEALs will be found not guilty, and that the investigators will discover they acted according to rules of engagement, and by the UCMJ. And even if they did pop this guy in the mouth, he ought to consider himself lucky that's all he got for the murder he committed. If it were up to me, I would've shot him, and dumped him in the Euphrates.