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Critics attacked CBS’s “60 Minutes” for airing an interview Sunday with Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher, who spoke to the newsmagazine about the events that resulted in his court-martial.
Gallagher was accused of war crimes stemming from a 2017 deployment to Iraq. He was eventually found not guilty of murder and premeditated murder but was convicted of a lesser charge of posing for a photo with an Islamic State (ISIS) fighter’s corpse.
Gallagher sat down with CBS News’ David Martin to admit he was wrong for the “distasteful” photo, and told “60 Minutes” he knows he’s despised by many, but denied stabbing the ISIS fighter. The newsmagazine detailed Gallagher’s wrongdoings, spoke to his wife and attorney, and explained that when protected by immunity, Special Operator 1st Class Corey Scott said he actually killed the fighter. The piece also showcased Gallagher’s current life, with footage of the Navy SEAL exercising and showing off his war mementos.
Viewers attacked “60 Minutes” for offering the Navy SEAL a platform and #Boycott60Minutes became a trending topic on social media. Twitter was flooded with messages accusing “60 Minutes” of humanizing Gallagher, who critics frequently called a war criminal:
Officials from “60 Minutes” did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
During Gallagher’s trial over the summer, a key witness for the prosecution — another Navy SEAL — testified to killing the ISIS captive but said he saw Gallagher plunge his knife into the man’s neck. Other members of his platoon struck down claims that Gallagher was a hero who was unfairly punished for making “tough calls.” Instead, they painted him as a “disgraceful” leader who took pleasure in targeting women, children and the elderly.
There had been debate on whether the Navy would strip Gallagher of his Trident pin, ousting him from the prestigious SEALs after he was demoted from chief petty officer to a 1st class petty officer following his July conviction.
His case caught the attention of President Trump, who demanded Gallagher’s rank be restored and ordered that the Navy halt its internal review of Gallagher’s actions that resulted in the high-profile war crimes case.
Gallagher enlisted in the Navy in 1999. He served a medic and in 2005 completed the Basic Underwater Demolition course to become a Navy SEAL, one of the most elite special operations forces in the U.S. military. He served eight tours and was highly decorated, including being awarded two Bronze Stars with V for valor.
Fox news’ Barnini Chakraborty contributed to this report.