Opinion

Rep. Hunter to besieged major: CIA should be paying you

[Editor's note: The following is an open letter from Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., to Maj. Mathew Golsteyn. The officer faces a board of inquiry that begins Tuesday at Fort Bragg, N.C. The board is to recommend whether he could remain in service.

The Army alleges that Golsteyn, in a job interview with the CIA, admitted to killing an unarmed Afghan in Marjah, Afghanistan, in 2010. Golsteyn believed the man to be a known bomb maker, according to the Army's account. An Army investigation into a violation of the rules of engagement, however, failed to find sufficient corroborating evidence to charge him.]

Two-plus years of investigations and administrative gamesmanship by the Army have led to this week's Board of Inquiry to determine your fate. The Army's case against you is weak, but their advantage is that they control the venue, the process and everything else.

You have been outnumbered before and you fought your way out. Expect to do the same again. The Army wants to believe that you are guilty of "murder" and "conspiracy," even though they were unable to substantiate an allegation that you killed a confirmed bomb maker in Afghanistan — a bomb maker who had the blood of at least two Marines on his hands.

ID=27664157They want to believe the allegation in the absence of any evidence or witnesses. This was evident as soon as they revoked your Silver Star and Distinguished Service Cross, in addition to your Special Forces Tab — all of it without material evidence or witnesses, and without awareness of the threats you and your men faced in the war zone.

No less to blame is the Central Intelligence Agency, for being manipulated by Army investigators to disclose details from your job interview with the clandestine service. You are the type of operator the CIA wants and needs. And instead of being punished for the alleged action, you should be on the CIA payroll right now or given a combat command.

You deserve better than the treatment you've been given.

Your service and sacrifice, your repeated deployments — all of it should call for mutual respect and fairness. It's an absolute shame to observe your struggle.Young men and women have been following your case —soldiers and civilians, alike. Your case was even brought up recently by a high school class in my congressional district and they too were confounded by the Army's actions.

They're not alone.

You have support far and wide. And without request, a thousand-plus petitions reaffirming support for you showed up in my office, signed by American families that care about you and are equally angered by your struggle.

No matter what the Army tries to take from you, remember that your actions in combat are your own. The respect you earned is your own. None of this can ever be stripped. When it came down to it, your brothers and sisters in arms were all that mattered.

Then-Capt. Matthew Golsteyn at his award ceremony in January 2011. Now a major, he has been stripped of his Silver Star and Special Forces tab.

Photo Credit: James Robinson/The Fayetteville Observer

While the bureaucrats and armchair generals were in Washington D.C., you were in the thick of the fight. Tired, dirty, and alone with your team. Things are different now, but you are still in the fight— and all I ask is that you don't give up now. Show that same tenacity that led to your nomination for the Distinguished Service Cross. Show the same courage. Stand proud, knowing what you have accomplished. Stand proud for your family and for your country. We are proud of you. And, remember… you are not alone.

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