UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — US Navy Secretary Richard Spencer said on Saturday he had not threatened to resign amid a row with US President Donald Trump over a panel of senior commanders that could lead to the dismissal of a top elite officer after being found guilty of a battlefield error.
“Contrary to what is rumored, I am still in my position and have not threatened to resign,” Spencer told a security conference in Halifax. The New York Times reported on Saturday that Spencer had threatened to resign.
Reuters quoted Spencer as saying that special operations commander Edward Gallagher should be brought before a panel of senior commanders “because the process is about good order and discipline.”
“Good order and discipline are also obeying the orders of the president of the United States,” Spencer said on Saturday.
Trump intervened in the case a week ago and ordered the Navy to reinstate Gallagher’s salary and pave the way for him to retire with a full pension.
A military jury convicted Gallagher in July of appearing in Tire with the body of an ISIS fighter illegally, but acquitted him of causing the death of the fighter while in custody, and also acquitted him of deliberately shooting unarmed civilians.
Despite surviving the prison sentence, his rank and salary were lowered because of his conviction in the case linked to his deployment to a military force in Iraq in 2017.
The 40-year-old Navy was notified on Tuesday that a five-member committee of naval commanders would meet on December 2 to review his case.
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