A SEAL assigned to Naval Special Warfare in California is in the brig pending an ongoing investigation into allegations that he was tied to the 2017 execution of a detainee in Iraq with a blade.
The chief special warfare operator has not been charged with a crime, but Naval Criminal Investigative Service agents continue to probe the claims, SEAL officials told Navy Times.
“A service member currently assigned to a Naval Special Warfare unit is under investigation by NCIS for professional misconduct while deployed to Iraq in 2017. We take all allegations of misconduct seriously and will cooperate fully with investigative authorities,” said Naval Special Warfare spokeswoman Cmdr. Tamara Lawrence in a written statement emailed to Navy Times.
"Naval Special Warfare strives to maintain the highest level of readiness, effectiveness, discipline, efficiency, integrity, and public confidence. All suspected violations for which there is credible information are thoroughly investigated. "
To preserve the integrity of the NCIS investigation, she declined to provide other information.
Graphic details of the prisoner of war’s alleged execution were repeated to Navy Times by seven officials at five flag commands, including the Pentagon.
Because he has not been formally charged with a crime, however, Navy Times is withholding his name.
Typically, an Article 32 hearing to sift through the evidence against the SEAL would be held in San Diego under the authority of Navy Region Southwest. A hearing officer would be instructed to recommend whether criminal charges should be filed and a general court-martial convened by an admiral.
Navy Region Southwest officials told Navy Times that an Article 32 hearing has not been scheduled yet.
The SEAL is incarcerated at the Naval Consolidated Brig Miramar. He’s being held under Rules for Court-Martial 305, which gives commissioned officers the authority to physically confine enlisted service members when a reasonable amount of probable cause exists to try someone under military law.
Four SEALs are undergoing court-martial now in San Diego for war crimes they allegedly committed at Village Stability Platform Kalach in the Chora District of Afghanistan’s Uruzgan Province on May 31, 2012.
But attorneys representing Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Daniel V. Dambrosio Jr. and two special operator chief petty officers — Xavier Silva and David N. Swarts — and their former commanding officer, Lt. Jason L. Webb, have contended that the SEALs are innocent in the alleged detainee abuse.
Prine came to Navy Times after stints at the San Diego Union-Tribune and Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He served in the Marine Corps and the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. His awards include the Joseph Galloway Award for Distinguished Reporting on the military, a first prize from Investigative Reporters & Editors and the Combat Infantryman Badge.