Pentagon has fired the Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer over the case of Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher.
The Pentagon in a statement issued on Sunday said that Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper asked that Richard V. Spencer resigns as Navy secretary following the way he handled the case of a Navy SEAL, accused of committing war crimes in Iraq. According to the statement, Spencer’s “lack of candour” during discussions with the White House regarding the SEAL’s case caused Esper to lose trust and confidence in him.
The Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher was in 2017 convicted of illegally taking pictures with the corpse of an Islamic State prisoner. Although Gallagher was acquitted of premeditated murder by a military jury, he was demoted in rank and pay grade.
Earlier this month, the U.S. president gave ordered that Gallagher’s status be restored. After the President’s intervention, the former Navy secretary made a private proposal to White House officials saying that Gallagher will retire as a Navy SEAL with his Trident pin if the White House stayed clear of a review board set up to determine the officer’s fitness to stay in the elite force.
In a statement, chief Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said that Spencer’s private proposal was far from his public position on the case. He noted that Spencer did not mention the proposal to Esper during several conversations about the case.
The defense secretary said that he was deeply troubled by Spencer’s conduct and had therefore lost confidence in his ability to continue as Navy secretary of the United States. In Spencer’s resignation letter, he stated that he could not in good conscience follow an order that went against the oath he took to defend and support the constitution.
Esper has recommended Kenneth Braithwaite for the position of Navy secretary and President Trump confirmed on Twitter that he will nominate him stating that Braithwaite is a “man of great achievement and success.” Kenneth Braithwaite who retired as a rear admiral in the U.S. Navy is currently serving as the U.S. ambassador to Norway.